Children’s and families bereavement service launched

Working in partnership with KissyPuppy, the Sophie Rolf Trust, Earl Mountbatten Hospice is launching a new children’s and families bereavement service, offering expert advice and specialist support to anyone who is experiencing loss through death on the Isle of Wight.

The Hospice has offered psychological therapies for many years and continues to provide a Psychology and Bereavement Service staffed by professionals who provide expert care to those facing a difficult time. These professionals are supported by a dedicated team of specially trained bereavement support volunteers. These volunteers also hold a group on the first Friday of each month and often visit people in their own homes.

The new bereavement service focuses on supporting children and families in a group setting. A number of groups are available: a group specifically for parents and carers of children experiencing loss to talk openly and gain support from each other and a young people’s group for 13 to 18 year olds to meet others in a similar situation and gain emotional and social support. A series of Children’s Days are also being held and these are a chance for children to take part in art and other activities aimed at helping them to express their grief. The first Children’s Day is taking place 10:30am to 3pm, Saturday 6 August in the John Cheverton Centre, which offers a large art room and, nearby, the Sunflower Café and children’s play area. The first Children’s Day is also an opportunity for parents and carers to meet and support each other in a relaxed and friendly setting.

Dr Jane Hazeldine, Consultant Clinical and Health Psychologist, explains why meeting in groups can be beneficial: “Although everyone experiences grief differently, it is often helpful to express emotions and meet with others who are going through similar challenges. Grief can also be very isolating, so our groups give children, young people and families the chance to meet other people facing the same situation.”

The KissyPuppy Children’s and Families Bereavement Service has been made possible thanks to the support of Gemma Blamire and Aaron Rolf, who have spearheaded the need for children’s hospice services on the Island after their own daughter Sophie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2012. Gemma and Aaron said we are delighted to be able to fund this new addition to the Hospice’s bereavement services. Once again the Hospice has shown itself to be a fantastically supportive organisation listening and developing its existing services to improve the much needed services for our Island children and families.

The KissyPuppy Children’s and Families Bereavement Service is available to anyone on the Isle of Wight who is experiencing loss through death. Support can also be offered leading up to someone’s death when they are very ill. Anyone who would like to find out more information can phone (01983) 529511, or ask your local GP or school to refer you to the free service. Anyone is welcome to attend the Children’s Day, although booking is essential by calling (01983) 529511.