Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Phoenix Bereavement supports children and young people when someone close dies. This could be their Mum or Dad, Brother or Sister, other family member or close friend. Death is difficult for any of us, but it can turn a child’s life completely upside down.

For some of the children Phoenix work with (around 3 in 10) the death in their family that they have to deal with is sudden and unexpected. This could be death by suicide, through a car crash or other accident, or through unforeseen medical complications, for example.

Without the right help at the right time, children who are bereaved are more likely than others to start experimenting with alcohol or drugs, to become depressed or anxious, and to struggle with their behaviour at school, sometimes leading to exclusion.

Phoenix offer children a safe space to talk, to meet others in a similar situation, to understand more about what has happened and to rebuild their confidence. They offer a free service for children, young people and their families including 1-2-1 time with a trained bereavement support worker, group and family sessions, and special social events.

To make a difference to a child who has experienced a sudden death in their family takes a lot of work. Let’s imagine a child who’s aged about 8, her name is Sophie* and her dad has just died in a motorbike crash on the way to work. How can she begin to understand what’s happened? Her mum and her little brother are also really upset, it seems like her mum is angry and sad at the same time. Sophie knows that her dad isn’t coming home again, ever, but her little brother Adam, who’s only 4 doesn’t understand what it means to be ‘dead,’ and he keeps asking when daddy’s coming back. Every time he asks, Sophie gets upset again. Her mum keeps crying, and her granny seems to have moved in. Sophie doesn’t know her granny that well, because she lived miles away before. Everything’s changed!

A trained bereavement support worker talks to Sophie, and, more importantly listens to her. Sometimes Sophie can hardly bear to talk, but that’s ok. Sometimes she can’t stop talking, and that’s ok too. Sometimes they draw pictures together, or play.

Sophie’s mum comes to a group session and meets other mums, while Sophie and Adam are working on their memory book together. ‘Do you remember when Dad used to take us to the seaside? Do you remember how cross he was when we drew on the wallpaper?’

You cannot wave a magic wand for children like Sophie, and bring back their loved ones, but you can help them to learn how to live their new way of life with confidence. Phoenix help families to talk to each other, and to support each other through their grief. They give children like Sophie the time and care they need to express their feelings, and learn that it’s ok to play and to laugh again, even though they still miss their dad.

Phoenix Bereavement does not receive any funding from the government or from the local council. They have 3 part-time staff, and otherwise rely on volunteers. Last year they raised £42,000 for their work from our local community, and from small grants. As you can see, £1,000 would make a massive difference, meaning that they could offer support to 10 more children who have experienced a sudden death in their family.

£1,000 would give 10 children in this situation 4 hours’ individual support each from Phoenix, bringing them valuable coping skills and hope for the future. This could mean a lifetime of difference to a bereaved child.

*Sophie is an example, not a real case because our work is confidential, but her feelings and experiences are just like our real cases.

Phoenix Bereavement Support

Moment of Pride

I lost my father in my twenties so know first hand how difficult it is to cope with loss. I can only imagine what it must be like for a child in the same situation. Phoenix are an extremely well respected local organisation that deliver support for children and their families in their hour of need.

Location: Herefordshire, United Kingdom