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‘Lifeline’ for grieving children.

County Durham Community Foundation has backed a local hospice with its outstanding support for bereaved families.

St Cuthbert’s Hospice was awarded a larger grant of more than £14,000 from the Connector Fund, to help children and adults grieving the loss of loved ones due to life-limiting illnesses or tragedies like suicide.

Part of this work, for children and young people, is known as the Jigsaw Project. The project encourages youngsters to participate in fun days and activities where they remember loved ones without being pressured to talk about what they have been through.

As part of the project, the team held a free seaside-themed day at Nettlesworth Community Centre. All those attending were treated to fish and chips, ice creams and a donkey ride.

One child commented “I really liked making things to remember daddy. You made me laugh, happy and we had a lovely time together.”

Providing a lifeline

One parent said: “The hospice provided my children with a lifeline, allowing them a safe place to express themselves.

“My children had a safe place and someone to trust away from home to help them make sense of what was happening.

“The children were able to bring their special memories of their dad back to life, using various arts, crafts and their memory box.”

The aim was to give youngsters a fun day with others, who may have experienced something similar. Parents have commented that it is helpful to be around other families who are grieving, with experienced counsellors on hand to help.

Support for Children and Adults

The Hospice currently have a waiting list for bereavement counselling. Last year they extended their referral criteria to those who had experienced a Covid-related loss.

The team expect demand for support to continue in the year ahead, particularly around unresolved grief and sudden death.

Through the grant, the hospice is enhancing their bereavement services and starting more peer support groups.

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