St Christopher’s service for children and young people facing loss, Candle Child Bereavement Service, marked its 20th Anniversary this week, coinciding with national Children’s Grief Awareness Week (15-21 November). Over 20 local young people, plus Candle staff and specially trained volunteers gathered together for a meal and a cake to mark the occasion at the hospice in Sydenham on 13 November 2018.
Candle Child Bereavement Service was established 20 years ago to provide one to one and group bereavement counselling support to all children, young people and their families in the south east London area, not only those who have a friend or relative who has died under St Christopher’s care. In the last year 420 local children were referred to Candle for help during their bereavement, along with 249 families. The service also provides a telephone advice service for parents and professional carers, and last year 370 people got in contact with Candle for advice.
Jenny Baukwill, who works for the Candle team at St Christopher’s, explains, “Just like adults, children react to death in different ways at different times. It can sometimes be difficult to find a way to explain what has happened, to cope with their questions and to manage their behaviour. We cannot prevent children from feeling sad, angry and hurt, but if we talk to them and include them in what is going on, we can give them our support and understanding.
“It’s really important to remember that help provided to a child in bereavement can prevent serious problems later in life. St Christopher’s is proud that over the last 20 years Candle has been there to help thousands of local children and young people, when they are facing the enormous challenge of someone close to them dying or becoming very ill.”
Candle also offer specialist training, advice and consultancy services to schools and other agencies working with children facing bereavement. In the last year Candle ran 12 training courses, providing advice and expertise to school staff, healthcare staff, volunteers and other charities such as the Anthony Nolan Trust.
Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK is from 15-21 November 2018. Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, from the Childhood Bereavement Network, is designed to raise awareness of bereaved children and young people in the UK, and how providing those affected with free, professional support can make the world of difference to their future.
Any parent, carer, teacher or health care professional can make a referral to St Christopher’s Candle service. Young people over 16 can refer themselves. For further information and advice visit http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/candle