Did you know a parent of a child under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK?*
Children’s Grief Awareness Week falls in mid-November every year. This week is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the support we provide here at Primrose Hospice & Family Support Centre for children and young people who are grieving or are anticipating grief.
Our team understands that, whether sudden or expected, the death of a family member will have a greater impact on families than most other life events. We are also aware that grief is both necessary and normal and needs to be acknowledged.
We work with children, young people and their families to support them when a loved one has died around healthy grieving and coping strategies either one-to-one or as a family. We offer support, group work, activity days and memory work to help keep a connection to the person who has died.
‘I am so grateful to Primrose Hospice for helping my child. You’ve allowed her to take part at her own pace and never pushing her. Primrose Hospice was also able to guide me when I was unsure about how to handle a situation, this gave me the tools to go on and help my child.’
– Carer of a bereaved child.
We often invite our community to our hospice to hold sessions for our young people. Recently Verve Kickboxing from Droitwich visited the hospice to hold a martial arts class. The session helped them cope with overwhelming emotions that may affect them when they are experiencing bereavement or they are living with someone who has a life-limiting illness.
As well as things like Kickboxing Primrose Hospice also run various groups for the children and families they are supporting. One of the groups which is run during the school holidays is our explorations group. These sessions allow them to have an escape and help them learn how to deal with different situations and feelings they may be experiencing. They are based on a forest school concept and are held outside whatever the weather!
As part of Children’s Grief Awareness Week we took part in the ‘Sharing Shapes: What helps’ project with the Childhood Bereavement Network. Through sessions with the young people we support, we asked them to create a piece of artwork that captures what helps them with their bereavement.
Our children enjoyed taking part in an alternative way to express their feelings through a creative outlet.
We’ve included some creations below and you can see more on our Facebook page here.
Our Family Support Team do amazing work supporting parents and carers of children who have experienced bereavement. As part of this support and also to raise awareness of how children and their responses to grief are sometimes forgotten or overlooked, we can recommend resources that adults may find useful when supporting their young people at home. One of the books we think may be helpful is “Forgotten Mourners”. Louise one of our volunteers who supports our children and young people’s team talks about the book below:
Forgotten Mourners is an accessible book that may help adults who would like information about how children grieve and ideas on supporting them following a bereavement. It describes itself as a book ‘intended to encourage people to take up the task of helping bereaved children’ acknowledging that ‘we all have gifts, skills and talents that can be used and we all have a part to play.’
Whilst there are newer books on the market this trusted book is user friendly and full of both common sense and wise words. Offering a no-nonsense approach, it directly answers questions such as ‘how much information shall I give the child, tips on helping to express feelings and recommendations about how best to prepare children for funerals and other important rituals. Overall, it is a well-tested and reliable source of information.
You can find more useful resources below:
Unfortunately the need for support for young people who are bereaved is increasing every year.
Did you know at least 10,000 children have been bereaved of a primary caregiver across the UK due to the pandemic? (According to research published in the Lancet in July 2021.)
This is why it is so important for Primrose Hospice & Family Support Centre to keep supporting children, young people and their families. It costs £20 for us to provide one Family Support session. We want to continue to provide our support for those who need it for many years to come. If you can, please consider supporting us this Children’s Grief Awareness Week or throughout any other time of the year.
You can donate and learn more about the vital support Primrose Hospice offers here: