Forbury Gardens in Reading was part of my life for over 20 years. I used to work just opposite in Forbury Square and my daughter went to the nearby nursery. I walked through it most days and spent many happy hours sitting near the bandstand or in the shade of the trees. It makes it all the more difficult to read about the tragic stabbings there at the weekend. Innocent lives lost. Promising careers cut short.
There will be many people grieving for the three victims. There will also be people grieving for those who have succumbed to COVID-19. The daily death rate may be going down, but every death leaves a big gap among family and friends.
If you are an employer, it can be difficult to know what to do in these circumstances. When a child dies, parents are entitled to parental bereavement leave and pay. Dependants are allowed unpaid time off to deal with emergencies. However, there is no general right to compassionate leave at work.
If you don’t have a Compassionate Leave policy then you may find this acas link useful: https://www.acas.org.uk/time-off-for-bereavement/supporting-an-employee-after-a-death
Everyone reacts to grief differently. Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees at such difficult times.
The attack took place in Forbury Gardens, the town's main central park near its railway station, at about 7pm on Saturday. Forbury Gardens is next to Reading's historic Abbey Ruins, where King Henry I is believed to be buried.