Mum and daughter launch café and ‘safe space’ for grieving families

A mum and daughter have launched a grief café to provide support to families who have lost a loved one.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 10:09 am

Andy’s Angels was set up by Kayla Shepherd, 41, and her daughter Millie, 11, in memory of husband and dad, Andy, who they lost suddenly in 2017.

Using their experience of losing of a loved one, Kayla and Millie decided to set up a grief café to provide a safe haven for grieving families to visit while navigating their own grief journey.

The grief café was launched on September 26, at Hope Hive on St Dunstan’s Road, Worthing, and runs from 10am to midday on the last Sunday of every month.

Founder of Andy's Angels, Kayla and her daughter Millie, 11, at their grief café launch in September. Photo by Cherry Red Photography

Kayla said: “The launch was great, it felt amazing to see all of our hard work fall into place.

“Bob Smytherman, Worthing’s town crier was also there, he started off the proceedings followed by a very moving dove release which was great for all of our volunteers and the families that came.

“We offer free drinks and healthy snacks for the families who attend. If they can afford a donation then that is welcome, but if not, that is absolutely fine.

“The grief café is absolutely free to attend, there are no charges at all, it’s a drop in session so people can stay for the whole session or just some of it.

Andy's Angels is run by volunteers who have all experienced the loss of a loved one. Photo Cherry Red Photography

“There is also no criteria to attend the café, it is opened to absolutely anyone who has lost a loved one.

“There is nothing like walking into a room full of people who you know are going through similar things to you. It is very powerful.”

Last week, Andy’s Angels received a National Lottery Fund of £10,000, which will help the charity implement events and activities for the grieving families, separate from the café.

Kayla said: “We feel absolutely amazing about the fund we have received.

Andy's Angels grief cafe launch at Hope Hive in Worthing in September. Photo by Cherry Red Photography

“It means we have a bit of security for the charity now, for example, we can pay Hope Hive where the café runs from for the next year, and we can provide these children and families with these other opportunities that perhaps they wouldn’t have.

“We are over the moon about it.”

Kayla and Millie have a ‘massive’ long term plan for Andy’s Angels. Kayla said: “There is nothing like this in Worthing, or Shoreham, or Chichester, or Horsham, there is just nothing like us.

“Our long term plan is to see if we can open something like this in other local areas to help people with the loss of a loved one.

Bob Smytherman, Worthing town crier, with people who attended the Andy's Angels grief cafe launch. Photo by Cherry Red Photography

“Everyone behind Andy’s Angels wants to thank everyone who came along to our café launch, we are completely overwhelmed with support.

“The support has been amazing from businesses and from individuals, so we would like to thank everybody so far that have helped us get to where we are.”