Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000

Submitted by: London and Country Mortgages


We need £2,500 to buy resources for our individual and group work with grieving children and their families. We’ve just moved to new premises so we need help kitting out our therapy rooms and preparing for our forthcoming groups.
One in every 29 children in the UK has experienced the death of a parent or sibling. That’s a child in every school class who is grieving. How those children grieve is vital to their immediate and long-term future. And that’s where you can help.
At Winston’s Wish we have 24 years’ experience of providing therapeutic groups for bereaved children and their families. We offer a range of different group settings to suit children of various ages and in a range of circumstances. For example –
• CUBS Groups for children under five and their parents/carers
• Day Groups for children bereaved by accidents or illnesses
• Residential Weekends for children bereaved by suicide
• Residential Weekends for children bereaved by murder or manslaughter
• Creative Arts Groups for teenagers
• Outward Bound Weekends for teenagers
All our group work includes therapeutic time and fun time. For both of these we need resources to support the activities we do. For example –
• Salt, jars and wax crayons for making Memory Jars where coloured sand represents memories of the person who died
• Clay for moulding and throwing at the ‘feelings wall’ to express difficult emotions
• Hoodies, t-shirts and little Winston Bears to help give group members a sense of shared identity and something to remember their time at Winston’s Wish
• Memory boxes for storing memories of the person who died
• Art materials for creative therapeutic work
• Candles and candle holders for remembering ceremonies
• Cushions and beanbags so we can make community venues feel like home
Our group work brings children together with others who have experienced something similar - it takes away the feelings of loneliness and isolation so often felt by grieving children. In the safe space of our groups children can practice telling others what has happened which can make life easier back at school or when meeting new people in future. We spend time remembering the people who have died and finding ways to keep those memories as the children grow up. We spend time exploring difficult feelings, how to express them and how to manage them – most importantly that they are okay to have and normal to have. Mixed in with all the therapeutic work are fun activities and games that allow the children to simply enjoy being children again.
Most of our groups for children have a corresponding group for their parents/carers which gives adults supporting bereaved children, and grieving themselves, the chance to build a peer support network and discuss ways of coping.
We also work with children and families on an individual basis using many of the same resources as in our groups. This includes activity books, art materials, memory jars, memory boxes and worry dolls.
We do this work with children and families in our ‘family rooms’. As well as the resources for activities in these rooms we also need to make the rooms feel welcoming and homely. We need some new furniture, toys and books to help us do this.
Over the course of a year we work with more than 1,500 children who could benefit from the new items we want to buy.
‘I have a memory box and I find it a lovely way to keep all my memories of my dad together in one place. So when I have a day when I'm feeling down about his death I can look at all the items and remind myself of what he loved. However, the thing I found/find most useful are worry dolls. I feel so much better when I tell worry dolls my problems and sleep with them under my pillow.’ – Young Person we supported.
Ultimately our work enables bereaved children to look to a brighter future. Please vote for us to make this a reality for more children in the coming year.

Winston’s Wish

Location: HQ is in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

We’ve worked with Winston’s Wish since 2015 and we’re proud to have selected them as our charity of the year in 2016. They help families at some of the most difficult times in their lives. We’re proud to partner with them to make sure more children get the help they need to build a brighter future.
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