This campaign is not about a blame game; we just do not want others to go through the same pain we all have by losing a loved one to this awful virus.”
- Becky Kummer – Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK
After noticing Becky Kummer on the news talking about ‘Bereaved Families for Justice UK’ I reached out to find out more about the movement and their campaign.
Hi Becky, thank you for speaking with The Silver Hedgehog, tell us more about Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK.
Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK is a group that is campaigning for lessons to be learned about the mistakes we feel were made in the government’s handling of the Covid crisis. We also have a second mission, and that is to offer professional bereavement support to families who are affected by Covid bereavement. We are working with lots of organisations to provide bereavement support for our members and to secure funding for counselling and helplines from trained and paid therapists, including for example, for specific cultures. It is such a traumatic way to lose someone when often you cannot say a proper goodbye and we would like our members to be able to access bereavement support without paying privately. It can also be a postcode lottery of what is available.
Those of us who have lost loved ones in the first wave, are also providing support to group members who have lost someone more recently, (Via our private Facebook group.)
You are campaigning for lessons to be learned, can you tell us more about this?
I would like to say that this campaign is not about a blame game; we just do not want others to go through the same pain we all have by losing a loved one to this awful virus.
Many of us believe that the Government did not act fast enough to protect the country against death caused by this virus. To this day, it still does not act fast enough to prevent deaths. With the UK having the highest death rate per Capita, from Covid it is clear there have been failings in dealing with this horrible virus.
As a group, we aim to not only seek accountability for the mistakes that have been made during the pandemic, but perhaps even more importantly, to stop the same mistakes being made again, causing more families to needlessly suffer the grief that we are all experiencing. New members are joining all the time and their stories almost exactly mirror many of ours from the start of the pandemic. This should not still be happening almost a year later!
We also seek to provide a voice for bereaved families and to encourage the government to provide adequate support to those who have lost someone to Covid-19. To date there has been little to no recognition of the trauma of losing someone in this way, or that there will be additional strain on bereavement and mental health support services. We believe all families should be able to access adequate support wherever they are in the country.
As a group, Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, is seeking accountability from the government, what outcome are you looking for?
The Government has agreed to an inquiry down the line, and that is the right thing to do. But and this is a big BUT…
We feel the country needs an independent and judge-led Statutory Public Inquiry – where the Government doesn’t ‘get to mark its own homework.’
We would like the inquiry to have an urgent first phase which starts immediately and reports back quickly, so that the lessons can be applied immediately and prevent more deaths as the virus spikes again. Then the rest can follow once the UK is hopefully on the other side of the pandemic and life goes back to some sort of ‘normal’.
Do you mind if I ask how you became involved with Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK?
My Dad became ill with Covid and I lost him in April 2020, the restrictions in place meant we could not see him in hospital or have a funeral for him, and that I couldn’t see family or friends as we were in lockdown.
Our members speak in the press and on TV quite often, and I saw one of them on the BBC News last May, back when I was trying to find some sort of way to channel my own grief.
I joined the private Facebook group that evening and found very supportive and kind people who had all suffered a similar loss. As my involvement increased, I went to Downing Street in June to hand over our petition that had been signed by 100,000 people (at that point) I then asked in August if they needed an extra pair of hands, and they did, so I became fully involved, running the inbox and the weekly team meetings.
That is a touching and Inspirational personal story, thank you for sharing it with us.
How can people support you and Covid -19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK?
It would be lovely if people felt they wanted to support us – they can sign our petition and donate to our Crowdfunder if they can afford to, as well as share it amongst family and friends, and also point anyone who has been bereaved by Covid towards our group – more details can be found our our website
Want to find out more?
Why not check out the Mirror news article
Images ©Mirrorpix/Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror