A ROAD safety campaign group based in Huddersfield today launched a pilot scheme to support people bereaved by road accidents.
The group, Brake, has teamed up with Victim Support and the police to provide the service in Calderdale and Bradford.
The pilot scheme is paid for by the Home Office and may be used nationally, if successful.
The scheme is co-ordinated by BrakeCare, the division of Brake that provides information for people who have been bereaved or seriously injured in a road crash.
BrakeCare will provide specialist training to Victim Support volunteers and police family liaison officers.
The volunteers will offer emotional and practical support, as well as advice about specialist services, to help people cope with their loss and the legal process following a death on the roads.
Volunteers from Victim Support, the national charity for victims of crime, will be supported by staff from its Bradford and Calderdale offices and will work closely with police family liaison officers.
Cathy Keeler, from BrakeCare, said: "We're delighted the Government is providing funding to offer support for families.
"The Bradford and Calderdale project will aim to ensure that people bereaved by road crashes have access to appropriate care and support at an extremely difficult time.
"Several families have already asked for support, even though the scheme has just been launched. We hope this type of service will eventually be extended nationwide."
Chris Carling, director of Victim Support West Yorkshire, said: "This is a much-needed service, so we welcome this opportunity to work with Brake and the police.
"Our volunteers are trained to support people after a sudden death. We know this support is appreciated by families and friends, who often feel more comfortable talking to somebody unconnected with the formal investigation.
"We're very keen to recruit more volunteers."
Det Chief Supt Grahame Bullock, head of community safety at West Yorkshire Police, said: "We are delighted to be involved with this outstanding project.
"Quality family liaison is essential wherever families have suffered bereavement."
The scheme is one of three evaluating different methods of helping people bereaved by road crashes. The others are in Bedfordshire and Merseyside.