WEST Essex and East Herts charity, St Clare Hospice, has recently secured more than £120,000 in grants to support the development of its children, young people and family bereavement service.
Since the service’s initial launch in June 2017, St Clare Hospice has helped over 400 local children and young people aged 3-18 years who have experienced bereavement – with the support of an initial three-year grant (2017-20) from the BBC Children In Need and further support from the Charles S French Charitable Trust.
This autumn, Children In Need awarded the Hospice a second three-year grant for £107,193, which will fund the service from September 2020-23. In addition, another £15,000 grant was awarded to St Clare from the Charles S French Charitable Trust, so that the organisation can extend their bereavement support to 18-21 year olds.
“We are absolutely elated that we have received another three years of funding from BBC Children In Need, which will enable St Clare to continue offering vital, professional support to young people who are experiencing loss within West Essex and East Herts,” says Carolanne Brannan, Director of Patient Care at St Clare.
“Bereavement can be an extremely difficult experience for anyone to cope with, but children and young people require specialist counselling and therapy that is different to how we’d support adults,” Carolanne explains. “With thanks to Children In Need, we launched the service by recruiting a Children, Young People and Family Therapist to deliver this vital bereavement support. Now, two years on, Children In Need has also enabled us to recruit a second Therapist to help strengthen and grow this service, meaning that we can continue to be there for local young people – now and in the future. Without this funding, we couldn’t be able to deliver this essential care.
“The fact that we are now able to further develop the service and extend this support to 18-21 year olds, with thanks to the Charles S French Charitable Trust, is fantastic, and means that we’ll be able to reach more people who need us than ever – one of our important strategic aims here at the Hospice.”
Leading the service at St Clare is Patient and Family Support team Manager, Sushma Dhami. “Over the next three years, we’ll continue to provide one-to-one support for young people who have experienced bereavement – as well as those who are struggling with the imminent death of a close relative,” says Sushma.
“The support we offer includes counselling, creative therapy and psychoeducation – which is therapeutic intervention that provides information and support so young people can better understand and cope with their feelings. However, we also plan to continue delivering training within schools to support teaching staff in their vital role of helping bereaved children and young people, along with facilitating parents to do likewise. Our own Patient and Family Support Service staff will continue to receive training from our present Children, Young People and Family Therapist, Joanne Feld, which will enable the team to support children and young people so we can offer more holistic and tailored care to families facing loss.”
Part of the Hospice’s work over the past two years has also included group ‘family days,’ hosted at St Clare for local people to connect with other families who are experiencing bereavement in a safe and mutual setting.
“The project has grown so much since it was first launched in 2017 – but we know that there is much more to be done to help support young people in the local community,” says Joanne Feld.
“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to now offer our support to 18-21 year olds, who we’ll be working with over the next year. Extending our project will help young adults to positively transition from secondary school to university or to work. As they will have been at school for around 14 years, leaving can feel very strange. They might also be moving away from home and becoming independent, so could experience insecurities. Situations like these can trigger a reaction to previous losses, but now we’ll be able to be there for young adults experiencing this, supporting them to build emotional resilience for their lifetime.”
Any child or young person aged 3-21 who is living within West Essex and East Herts can access bereavement support from St Clare Hospice – including support around coping with a close relative’s terminal prognosis. Referrals can be made directly by contacting St Clare Hospice; via a GP or healthcare team; or through a young person’s school or educational institution.
The number to call is: 01279 773762 (St Clare Hospice’s Patient & Family Support team)
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