The first listening session is to be held by a charity launched by the grieving relatives of a teenager who died suddenly at a music festival.
The family of Megan Bell and their friends launched the Megan’s Rainbow Support Trust to fill the gap in counselling care they discovered when they looked for help in the aftermath of the 17-year-old’s death in July 2016.
Former St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ School student Megan, from Seaham, had be due to begin a hairdressing apprenticeship on her return from the T in the Park Festival in Scotland.
The trust has two branches, with one to help families cover the cost of funerals they had never expected to plan and the other to offer help to those struggling with their grief.
Megan’s loved ones, including parents Chris and Lisa and siblings Maddy, Jenny and Josh, faced a long wait and travelling to Hartlepool for counselling, leading the trust to launch its own help sessions.
The first listening evening will be held on Tuesday in her home town, with five people now put through training.
We will make sure that people feel they are welcome and it is for anybody who has lost someone.Jenny Bell
Megan’s grandmother Jenny Bell is leading the project.
She said: “People can just drop in to it and talk to other people and it’s not counselling, but the idea is they can come in, be listened to.
“We will make sure that people feel they are welcome and it is for anybody who has lost someone.
“We know ourselves what it can be like and we hope others won’t be left without help.”
The team also hope to source counsellors for those who are in need of further support.
The session will be held at Seaham Youth Centre in Strangford Road from 5pm to 7pm and will be held on the second Tuesday of the month, with times to be adapted as the scheme develops.
A dedicated phone number has also been set up so people can find out more and can be called on 07415 485 719.
More details can also be found via the group’s Facebook page.
The sessions are being supported thanks to funds raised by the charity through events including a football match, Great North Run sponsorship and entertainment events.
The next event will be a 1980s-themed night of music on Saturday, April 14, at Dawdon Welfare Club.
Anyone who would like to help, or book a £5 ticket in advance, can get in touch via the Music for Megan Facebook page or call her father Chris Bell on 07501 685 913.