St Oswald’s Hospice has continued to support children through family bereavements despite social distancing measures brought in due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charity has worked quickly to find new ways of offering its services, one of which is the Child Bereavement Support service.
As well as face time calls, children who use the service have been sent a personalised pack with journals, activity sheets, and feelings cards to engage with during lockdown. The packs also contain information on the Coronavirus to help them understand their stress and anxiety in the current situation.
Beth Gregan, Children’s Lead of Bereavement at St Oswald’s Hospice said: “Maintaining contact with the children is so important. I am making sure I can Facetime them as frequently as they need so that they can carry on the sessions and talk about their grief. Doing this work means building up really strong, trusting relationships with the children and we must continue contact through these unsettling and unusual times.”
The sessions have not only helped the children using the service, but also their parents and carers. Wendy Robson from Tynemouth said: “The lockdown has come at a time when we were trying to find our new normal after losing my husband and the girls’ daddy just before Christmas and the support has been invaluable in beginning to come to terms with this loss”.
For Steven Walker from Forest Hall, it has given him something to enjoy with his son Jack in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of his mum’s death. Steven said: “The pack has helped me to find out how Jack is feeling and how he has been feeling since his Mam died.”
The bereavement support service is one of many services offered by St. Oswald’s, which is best known for its palliative care and end of life care, as well as its children’s and young adult’s service. It launched its first ever urgent appeal in March to cover lost revenue that would usually come from fundraising events which have been cancelled due to the lockdown, income from its retail shops, and volunteer work. At the time of writing, it has raised over £197,000.
If you would like to donate to St. Oswald’s Hospice Covid-19 response appeal, you can do so here.
For more information on their child bereavement support services, there is more information here.