New service to ease inquests in Sunderland needs volunteers

Sunderland Coroner's Court support services deputy director David Bulmer and co-ordinator Sam Catt, with Coroner's staff, left to right, Vicky Ross, Andrew Hetherington, Neville Dixon and HM Senior Coroner Derek Winter.
Sunderland Coroner's Court support services deputy director David Bulmer and co-ordinator Sam Catt, with Coroner's staff, left to right, Vicky Ross, Andrew Hetherington, Neville Dixon and HM Senior Coroner Derek Winter.
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A new service to support people attending inquests in Sunderland is on the look-out for volunteers.

National charity the Coroners’ Court Support Service has launched in the city.

“People come here and do not know what to expect.” Samantha Catt

Coroner Derek Winter

Sunderland coroner Derek Winter, said: “The service will look to help everybody involved in the inquest process – family members, professional people giving evidence, anybody who needs any kind of support in the course of the hearing.

“When people come to court, I want them to get the best service they can.

“I don’t want people to be uncomfortable, so if they can have some help from the support service, that is a good thing.”

Samantha Catt and David Bulmer have been appointed to run the new service, Samantha as co-ordinator and David as deputy director, answering to the charity’s London head office.

As well as providing support during hearings, the service will be able to arrange visits to the court in advance and talk people through the inquest process.

“People come here and they do not know what to expect,” said Samantha.

Volunteers will be asked to commit a minimum of two days a month, but Samantha promised they would not be thrown in at the deep end.

“We are asking people to come in to observe and find out if it is actually for them,” she said. “It can be quite a harrowing process, especially if they have gone through a bereavement themselves.”

Volunteers will undergo three-day training course in August

For more information on the service or to volunteer, e-mail info@ccsupport.org.uk or call Samanatha on 07496 613 632.