Bereavement care researcher

Person specification and job description

Contract type: Fixed term contract until the end of October 2020 but may be extended subject to funding.

Hours: 14-36 hours per week, worked between 9am-5pm. Please provide your preferred working hours and pattern on application.

Location: Homeworking – successful candidates will be supplied with the necessary IT equipment to undertake the role.

Salary: £22,320 FTE

About Sudden

As a pandemic response, Sudden, the charity service for people bereaved in Sudden ways, is offering people who are bereaved suddenly or too soon (including by COVID-19 and other causes), and who have vulnerabilities and acute needs, a specialist service providing support, practical help and protecting wellbeing during the first ten weeks of their bereavement, at a critical time of shock and loss and often major upheavals to people’s life circumstances.

The role

This is a vital but challenging role, requiring high-end research skills and communication skills, both written and verbal, and a passion to be at the frontline of pandemic care.

The Bereavement Care Researcher sits within a small research team, providing support to our Sudden case workers. Our case workers help suddenly bereaved people (our service users) over the phone, over several months from day one of their bereavement, and rely upon our research team to identify and liaise with community and specialist agencies who can provide different aspects of care to our service users to meet bereaved people’s many and often complex, and changing, needs.

This role is offered on an initial fixed term contract until the end of October 2020 but is planned to be extended permanently, subject to funding. Due to the urgency of this service provision at this time of pandemic, applicants are particularly sought who can start immediately or within weeks.

More about who we help

We are particularly, at this time, helping people who have a range of complexities in their lives compounding their sudden bereavement such as trauma relating to loss, mental or physical illness, lack of income, social barriers such as lack of social networks including isolation, issues relating to children, youth or older people, or multiple bereavements at once.

More about how we help

Our team of case workers, operating over the phone, help vulnerable suddenly bereaved people over a series of calls and emails over the first ten weeks to identify their emotional, practical and specialist needs and agree a plan of care for them that supports their well-being.

Our case workers provide emotional and practical support and work with community and specialist agencies to advocate for service users and get help they need. About half case workers’ time is spent talking to their clients, and the other half getting things done for them.

Case workers are supported by a small team of researchers, that investigate specialist and local services and who also help undertake advocacy on behalf of service users and other research and results-oriented tasks.

Our impact

We enable service users to feel safe, supported, connected and stable. The goal is to enable service users to have a significantly lower chance of developing conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a lower chance of facing isolation and social disadvantage.

More about us

Sudden, at, is a clinically-directed, charitable service that is born out of the Sudden project, which provides and disseminates professional development tools and standards relating to care of people bereaved suddenly.

Sudden is hosted by Brake, the road safety charity registered 1093244, which operates the UK’s National Road Victim Service (NRVS). The NRVS is an acclaimed and government funded service for people bereaved suddenly in road crashes and is offered through all police forces to everyone bereaved on roads. It operates in the same way as the Sudden service, through case managed support helping people bereaved in road crashes with their emotions and practical and procedural challenges. The NRVS came second in the 2019 Helpline Partnership awards.

Job description

Purpose: To provide research support to our frontline case workers and the service more widely, helping us to help people better who are bereaved in sudden ways including COVID-19, and protect their wellbeing.

Tasks include:

  • Undertake a range of research functions from the simple, such as find a local mutual aid group to help with shopping, to the complex, such as find a lawyer who specialises in a particular probate issue, or an agency that can help with re-housing someone with no income. The range of tasks are as wide as the range of bereaved people’s individual needs when in crisis.
  • Research the right health, social and other kinds of help available within communities, organising referrals to multiple public and voluntary community agencies, run nationally or locally.
  • Maintain and develop a database of external agencies and organisations that our case worker team and bereaved people can utilise to support our service users, updating details of agencies and what they provide.
  • Assist in the production of information for our service users, and for professionals helping our service users, for example health professionals and police.
  • Assist in the monitoring and evaluation of our service, through excellence in recording and reporting work undertaken, with a focus on demonstrating outcomes for service users.
  • Participate additionally in team training, supervisory and development sessions, contributing to the professional development of yourself and the service through heuristic learnings.

Person specification

We are interested in receiving applications from people with a track record and solid references relating to backgrounds working in research-led and/or advanced advocacy roles, and with an understanding of, or ability to quickly grasp, community agencies in the social and health care sectors. You may have worked in any one or more of a number of professions, ranging from university research to community or social support agencies in the public or NGO sector.

This is a vital but challenging role. The post holder will have investigative research and excellent communication skills, written and verbal, and a passion to be at the heart of a team at the frontline of pandemic care. While you may or may not have worked in a support organisation before, more importantly you excel at searching for, evaluating, negotiating, and communicating solutions.

While you will mainly not be working directly with the bereaved people we help, this is a demanding and pivotal role relied upon by those who do, and only appropriate for those with:

  • research skills – you listen hard to problems and find the simplest and best solutions, accurately and fast;
  • people skills – you can liaise and negotiate with external agencies, from GPs to housing agencies, asking insightful questions and understanding the answers without misinterpretation, clarifying as necessary to ensure they are the correct agencies to help our service users and how they can help;
  • communication skills – you can communicate via email and other mediums what you have found out and what needs to be done in simple, plain terms that clarify;
  • comprehension and writing skills – you can evaluate complex documents and write copy fast, assisting the preparation of a range of tools needed within the service to progress our work, for example reports that help us to monitor and evaluate and report to funders;
  • significant resilience, ability to work steadily and effectively in a demanding topic area, and a willingness to be professionally developed and supervised;
  • a team player; you are outcomes focussed and work with others to get there.

This is a demanding role that requires resilience. We recognise that many people have challenges at this time so please do consider this when applying.

Our commitment

You will be working for an acclaimed and professionally run charity that is clinically directed, maintains systems, and within a small, and friendly team.

To apply

Email your CV to Brake’s Chief Operating Officer, Ross Moorlock:

Applications will be reviewed and processed as soon as they are received. Interviews will take place online as and when suitable candidates are identified.

Due to the nature of Brake’s work, we cannot consider applications from traffic offenders. Brake is an equal opportunity employer.