Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Living On Bereavement Service has been set up to provide support and advice to bereaved children and their families in Orpington and the surrounding area. The loss of a loved one can be difficult for children to understand. Sometimes its even harder for adults to talk about it. Living On is there to help with these conversations and to encourage children to ask the questions they may have, and to discover ways and strategies to to deal with their grief, adapt to the changes it may have brought to their lives and manage their difficult feelings. We encourage children and young people to support each other. Living On provide 2 main services for bereaved children and their families. In the early stages of grief we provide a unique Buddying service. This is when a family has just or very recently lost a loved one. We connect the family with a trained 'buddy' who will then be there to support the family during the first 12 months of their bereavement. We offer support and advice over the telephone, via e-mail or face to face on how to talk to children about the death they have experienced. The 'buddy' may also talk to the family about how to prepare for a funeral and how to continue 'Living On' afterwards. The buddys can visit the family at home, and can work with schools to offer advice around bereavement and supporting families within their setting, visiting the child at school if needed. Often there is a lack of confidence amongst professionals, particularly within school settings, in working with bereaved children and knowing how best to support them, and we can help with this. Our buddy's are all fully trained volunteers. The second service is our Grief Groups. Throughout the year we run grief groups for families to attend. These groups run every week for 6 weeks. The aim of these groups is to bring families and children together who have all been bereaved of a loved one, in order to feel that they are not alone and to alleviate the feeling of isolation that is often so present with grief. During these groups we look at difficult feelings, collecting memories, sharing stories and discovering ways to deal with grief and processing loss in a safe and creative space. Using age appropriate methods and techniques we explore these feelings together. Groups are facilitated by fully trained drama therapists and Living On volunteers. These groups are available from six to eight months after a loss. Both these services are completely free to bereaved families. Living On Bereavement Service was launched in April 2016 so is still relatively new, but we have already supported over 50 families. Funding would allow us to train a second cohort of much needed volunteers and run a years grief groups, 3 cycles of 6 weeks each. The funding would be used to purchase the resources needed to support the families through the first year, memory boxes, salt jars, books and so on and also to pay the costs associated with the grief groups for the year. This includes the cost of hiring a venue, paying qualified dramatherapists, providing refreshments and also the resources used in grief groups. Also to run regular family events, which work alongside the grief groups and buddying service to continue to bring the families together and help to facilitate contact between them. There is no other service in the Orpington area offering support of this kind. Grief can be a very lonely and isolating experience for children, who often feel that nobody else understands how they feel or what they are going through. With the right support, bereaved children and young people can continue to reach their full potential and become resilient adults.

Living On Bereavement Service

Moment of Pride

Seeing the difference that is made to a child able to talk about their loss and their loved ones. The commitment, dedication and bravery shown by Living On volunteers to improving the lives of children and families in the darkest and most difficult times of their lives is awe-inspiring.

Location: Orpington