We are delighted to award Bideford-based Families in Grief (FiG) a grant of £15,000; this is split over three years to provide a guaranteed income in support of the work they do.
They are a childhood bereavement charity helping families rebuild their lives after someone close to them dies. They believe they can significantly impact a bereaved child more if we support the parents/carers around the child too.
Many areas of North Devon contend with low salaries and high levels of unemployment. According to Devon County Council figures, at least one in five children live in income-deprived families in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. They offer this crucial bereavement support completely free to ensure that families can get the help they need regardless of social-economic circumstances.
From the point of contact, they work with the primary carer to plan the appropriate support pathway for their child and family. With the parent’s permission, they can also contact the child’s school to offer strategies and tools to help the child in the classroom.
Tailoring support to the child and their situation, coming up with strategies to help get them into school, sending a list of appropriate books to help the child, or an information sheet on, for example, ‘Sleeping Tips for Teens’. This addresses their individual needs. They are offering group support to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. FiG has seen how difficult it is for children and young people to talk about their feelings, so they encourage expression through creative and physical activities in their groups. Sitting side by side rather than face to face to promote conversation. They support the parents/carers of the children too. They have their group, which runs at the same time.
The ages of those helped range from around five years old to early 20s; at any one time, about 80 families are supported over six weeks, but there’s no “fixed” end of support time. The team of around 20 volunteers often come from childcare backgrounds.