Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Anxious, confused, sad, scared – this is how a bereaved child feels after the death of a relative as their world is turned upside down. The Shakespeare Hospice supports children across South Warwickshire and the North Cotswolds who have lost a family member to a life-limiting illness such as cancer. Last June the Hospice opened a bespoke Hub which houses their new Young People’s Services. These include a Children’s Bereavement Service that provides one-to-one pre- and post-bereavement support for children and young people aged between 4 and 18.

In January this year, as part of the development of the Children’s Bereavement Service, the Hospice trialled a pilot Bereavement Support Group to provide further therapy. The group ends in June and is proving to be very beneficial as evidenced by parents' feedback: “My son loves coming to your group. He’s always so excited about coming. He’s never wanted to join groups before. It’s really helped him to meet other children who have lost someone in their family too”.

Given the success of the pilot, the Hospice is keen to run a new 6 month Bereavement Support Group. An award of £1,000 from the Aviva Community Fund will help the Hospice to create a Bereavement Support Group which will run from September 2015 to February 2016 and will make a difference to a new group of bereaved children who are currently receiving one-to-one support.

The Bereavement Support Group will be run by trained Hospice staff and volunteers and will meet monthly in the Hub. The group is for children who have been having one-to-one support with us but who are ready to move on to the next step of meeting in a group situation. At the end of the 6 months, it is anticipated that the children will be ready to leave the group and able to begin to adjust to their new life without a particular family member.

The group will help to lessen the children’s fear and confusion through therapeutic activities and social interaction. After having suffered a bereavement, many children find it difficult to communicate with their peers. The Bereavement Support Group gives bereaved children the opportunity to build up their confidence again by mixing with other children who have experienced the loss of a mother, father, sibling or other relative to a life-limiting illness. This helps them to understand that they are not alone and are not the only child to have lost a relative.

A £1,000 award from the Aviva Community Fund will enable the Hospice to purchase arts and crafts materials for therapeutic activities with the bereaved children such as making memory boxes and games that will encourage the children to talk about and remember their family member who has died.

The funding will also allow the Hospice to treat the bereaved children by taking them out on day trips as well as taking them on a residential weekend, which will involve therapeutic play and arts and crafts, at the end of the 6 month group. The weekend will signify the closure of support for this group (although support is always available to them at the Hospice) and is designed to be a celebration of the children’s achievements as they embark on rebuilding their life.

Approximately 12 children will take part in the group but the project has wider benefits as it will impact on the lives of the children’s families. It can often be difficult for adults related to a bereaved child to know how best to talk to them about their deceased relative. The group activities, such as making memory boxes, will provide children with something to take home which will help them to communicate their emotions more openly with their families.

Creating a new Bereavement Support Group will enable the Hospice to help more bereaved children to understand their grief and rebuild their lives. Your vote will make a difference to bereaved children who are struggling to cope with the loss of their loved one and to make sense of this most stressful and challenging time.

Project Video

The Shakespeare Hospice

Moment of Pride

The project will turn a desperate time into a more bearable journey and help more bereaved children like this one: “Wonderful service. Young people are so often forgotten. You have helped my daughter so much. I don’t know what we would have done without the Hospice. We will be forever grateful".

Location: South Warwickshire & North Cotswolds