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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Carlisle woman set up business to help bereaved cope with grief

A new business in Carlisle aims to help those who have suffered bereavement cope with grief and get their lives on track.

Sarah Clive photo
Sarah Clive

Former web designer Sarah Clive has drawn on her experiences following the death of her father to set up Inspired by Life, which is running two retreats later this year.

She believes it is the only business of its kind in the UK.

The 33-year-old, originally from Oxford, went into free fall after her father died in 2007.

She said: “He had been diagnosed with cancer five years previously. They initially gave him six months to live but he defied all odds and lasted another five years.

“Even though we knew it was coming, his death was still very difficult to deal with.

“Everybody says the wrong thing and you find it difficult to relate to people. You get very emotional. I got angry when people said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss’. They made it sound like losing a wallet in the supermarket.

“For the next couple of years, I made every bad decision you could make.

“I moved 300 miles [from Newcastle] to a place I’d never lived before [Somerset].

“I didn’t have the support network I needed. I took jobs I shouldn’t have because I was thinking emotionally. My relationship broke down and I got into other relationships I shouldn’t have been in.

“I came to the conclusion that I was incredibly unhappy. I missed my dad. I hated what I was doing and I didn’t live near my friends.”

It was then that she decided to put her experiences to good use, and Inspired by Life was born. She said: “I wanted to do something that was valuable, not just selling people things they don’t need.”

The first retreat in April runs for three days and aims to help people, who feel they are veering off course after bereavement, to turn their lives around.

There will be experts in counselling, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and emotional-freedom technique (EFT), a psychological method to optimise emotional health.

Participants will try their hand at music making, song writing, poetry, storytelling, photography and art in a safe, supportive environment.

Sarah said: “These are creative therapies to create something tangible out of their emotions, which are essentially intangible. People will get immersed in different things.

“The idea is to get them to enjoy it, have fun, and recognise there are things that everyone can do. It’s about recognising what’s inside you and what’s around you.”

A second two-day retreat in June is designed for the recently bereaved who still feel raw, to give them the tools and techniques to cope.

There are workshops in animal-assisted therapy, NLP and EFT, using food to boost your mood, and a speaker from the mental-health charity Mind. Both retreats are at Shepherds Dene in Northumberland. Places cost £999 for the two-day retreat and £1,249 for the three-day version.

Sarah said: “The retreats are jam-packed with experts, all of whom are incredibly good at inspiring others.”

She expects clients to come from all over the country.

Her decision to move to Carlisle to launch the business – Inspired by Life operates from her home in Broad Street – was an aesthetic one.

She said: “I wanted a special location. When you think about Cumbria, you think about the Lake District and all the writers and poets and artists who have been inspired by the landscape and the environment.

“I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to set up. Everyone I’ve met has been welcoming. It has been a very positive move coming here.”

Inspired by Life also offers an online coaching package, enabling clients to face their grief, and the issues holding them back, over a six-month period.

And it has a You Tube channel, surviving loss, where people can send videos talking about their experiences of bereavement. This, Sarah hopes, will build up to create a “landscape of grief” that people can relate to.

More information at www.areyouinspired.co.uk or call 01228 513134.

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