5 minutes with...

Sue Johnston, Adult Service Manager, Liverpool Bereavement Service

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Thu 15th, Nov

Established 20 years ago, Liverpool Bereavement Service provides 1:1 counselling for adults and children throughout Merseyside.  Sue has been with Liverpool Bereavement Service since 2009 and began as a trustee. As a qualified counsellor, she took on the position of Adult Service Manager in 2011.

Sue was one of our very worthy Local Hero nominees at this year’s Liverpool & Sefton Chamber Annual Awards. The LBS Board said “Sue is highly skilled and widely regarded, and she could probably be described as the heart of our service as she seems to produce two hours of work each hour. Her work ensures that clients receive the support they require and is a valuable contribution to our counsellors and Liverpool Bereavement Service’.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

Sustainable long term funding! More awareness!

More awareness around the impact bereavement can have on people’s lives and of those around them. We look to highlight the support people need on an individual basis but also within the workplace.

With the workplace being such an important part of life employers should be encouraged to be more aware of the effects of bereavement and work in partnership with us for the care of their staff.

As part of the charity sector, funding is always an issue and to have sustainable long term funding for the work we is essential. I am eternally grateful for the continuous support from private funders, fundraisers and client donations without which we would not be able to provide such a valuable service. We strive to keep our waiting list down and everyone is supported regardless of circumstances.

What does a typical working day look like?

Every day is different but hopefully I start with checking any messages and emails and prioritising them. I then make sure all the rooms are in order for the day.

I initially assess 100% of people who come to us by either self- referral or from GPs and other associated services. As a result of the assessments I can allocate each client to a specific counsellor to suit their needs. Often I will follow up on clients who have finished their counselling and also taking care of the welfare and emotional needs of the counsellors which is an important aspect of my role.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Take care of yourself – your mental wellbeing is important too.

Follow your dream to be the best at whatever you chose to do.

Where would we find you on your day off?

With my sister, Tina, my husband and three grown up children who are all supportive of my role at LBS.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

My first job was in a Solicitor’s office and the senior partner said to me, ‘don’t ever change who you are and always be yourself,’ so I stuck to that.

I often tell clients that yesterday is over, and you can’t change the past, but we can change how we think about it and how we feel.

Who or what inspire you?

Liverpool Bereavement Service inspires me every day. I see the good and the effect it has on people’s lives. The student counsellors inspire me as I watch them grow and develop into great counsellors. The clients inspire me as they show their resilience in difficult circumstances and they put their trust in Liverpool Bereavement Service.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

I was born in Huyton, I live in Liverpool. I want to do the best I can for the area I love, I want to make sure that everyone in Liverpool and its regions are supported so they too can always be themselves and the best version of themselves.  

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