“Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger, more confident and in control of your own destiny.”

The SAMM Empowerment Weekend

We offer a bespoke combination of peer support, workshops and complementary therapies in 3-steps over 3-days. Designed for the bereaved by the bereaved, the experience takes place in the calm and serene setting of a beautiful retreat centre. It facilitates a bereaved person’s recovery journey at a pace that is right for them.

“I now understand my grief and why I act as I do sometimes… thank you.”

The Empowerment Experience – how does it work?

The experience has been designed to help people who feel stuck and overwhelmed with their grief, thoughts and emotions. A combination of peer support, workshops and complementary therapies allow people to gain specific knowledge and tools through shared experiences to help cope and recover from the effects of a traumatic bereavement.

We also recognise that a traumatic bereavement can feel like a loss of control, particularly when a bereaved person experiences the criminal justice system. We therefore explore the idea of empowerment and control whilst working towards post traumatic strength and growth.

The weekend can accommodate up to 20 people. A significant number of sessions happen within a group setting and there are times of intensity, however there are plenty of breaks to allow for thoughts and reflection. There are even lighter moments too where we smile and laugh.

We know that everyone’s grief journey differs, therefore not everyone will be in the same psychological space at the same time. Individual support sessions are offered to help identify where a person is within their grief journey and what help they may need to support their recovery.

‘Can I again say thank you to all at Samm. 
The Empowerment weekend has really helped. It was such a safe place. I’m trying to quantify what impact it had on me. I’ve realised I could relax and laugh as well as cry in an environment where people weren’t judging my reaction to things. ‘Feel sorry or hide away from my emotions – just feel the same.  I’m left with a real strength. And permission to ‘not’ go to where I may not feel this is strong as present. my reactions to life are starting to make sense?? With love and thanks.’

Peer Support

Sharing personal experiences can help reduce grief symptoms, and feelings of isolation, while promoting positive wellbeing, a sense of hope, belief and control.

All trained volunteers are traumatically bereaved and have a unique sense of empathy. Attendees will be able to gain from their experiences through themed workshops and individual sessions.

“My second retreat and I felt privileged to provide support and inspiration to people who are suffering in the earlier stages of their grief.”

Complementary Therapies

We recognise that different therapies can provide a range of other coping strategies for processing difficult emotions. Our weekend experience offers a range of complementary therapies including:

  • Structured art therapy groups
  • Open art well-being classes to create memorable pieces
  • A range of complementary therapies – these may include tai chi or reflexology (types may vary)
  • Relaxation sessions


The workshops cover a range of trauma related themes and subjects where participants will gain an understanding of the following:

  • The clinical presentation of traumatic grief including the psychological and physiological effects.
  • Knowledge of complex traumatisation, including the signs and symptoms.
  • Understanding of the normalisation process during recovery.
  • A study of post-traumatic stress and post traumatic growth.
  • Trauma therapy -the science, the options and what’s right for me?
  • Current factors affecting the course of individual recovery, including risk factors and a trauma informed approach.
  • Understanding family dynamics and the ‘hierarchy’ of grief.
  • Protective factors supporting the course of recovery, including resilience and positive decision making.

The Trauma module is based on Professor Stephen Regel’s theory of trauma and recovery. He is an experienced trauma therapist and the founder of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth, Nottingham.

“I didn’t know what to expect… I felt so alone before I went… I could’ve listened all day… the treatments were just fabulous. There was lots of talking and making friends… I thank you all at SAMM for giving me the opportunity to attend.”


Remembrance is a crucial part of the grief journey.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend a candle ceremony in memory of their loved one.

Is help available after the Empowerment Experience?

We provide optional and personal recovery plans shortly after a person’s weekend experience. Ongoing emotional support is also offered for as long as a person needs it.

Impact and Evidence

Nearly all previous attendees experienced substantially reduced levels of anxiety, fear, depression, angerand isolation. Further results showed the following:

Anxiety – 95% of attendees felt anxious and fearful before the weekend and 94% had little or no anxiety after it.

Depression – 49% felt significantly depressed at the start of the weekend while 12% felt much lower levels afterwards.

Anger – 75% were significantly angry at the start of the weekend and 94% felt very little or no anger upon leaving.

Loneliness and Isolation – 82.5% felt significantly lonely before the weekend which changed to 88% feeling little or no loneliness at the end of it.

Referring a bereaved person

You will need consent from the referee to complete and send the application form. We will contact them shortly after receiving the form. We normally work with a bereaved person beforehand to complete a risk assessment and ensure a person is fully ready to attend one of our weekends.