Family Support Services for Children and Young People

The diagnosis of a life-threatening or life-limiting condition can be a frightening experience for anyone but for children and young people who may not fully understand what this could mean, it can be especially bewildering.

Our Family Support Service for children and young people provides pre and post bereavement support for young people up to the age of 18 years.

Whether the death or diagnosis is expected or sudden, children and young people need to understand what has happened to their loved one so that they can process their pain and move forward with hope.

Talking to them in a clear, straightforward, sensitive way can help while ensuring they feel included makes them feel secure. No-one can take away the pain of grief, but helping them to understand and manage their feelings can make a real difference.

This service is free and confidential and is available to children and young people experiencing bereavement who live in the areas of West Northumberland, Tynedale and Ponteland.

It is available to all regardless of whether the loved one has experienced our Nursing Care Service.

We take self-referrals from family members although many of our referrals come through GPs, schools and other local support services (with a parent or guardian’s consent).

Supported by BBC Children in Need

How We Can Help

  • We can provide home visits to families or see them in our specially equipped Rainbow Room at our Hospice office.
  • We offer an active listening service provided by trained Family Support Practitioners.
  • We can provide access to resources that may help e.g. books and workbook that explore grief.
  • We can support schools and others working with the children and young people.
  • We host after school clubs and activity days to provide additional support. Trained volunteers help us to facilitate these activities.

Activity Days

Held throughout the year, our activity days provide support to children and young people by encouraging them to share their stories in a safe, confidential and caring environment using crafts, music, story-telling and play to build confidence so that they relax and talk about their feelings.

Group Activities

Meeting other children who are also grieving the death of someone they love can be a comfort and relief. And talking about their feelings openly, in a warm, confidential and supportive setting, can help them understand what has happened and cope with what the future may bring.  That is the ethos behind our group sessions.

Here, children can come together to talk about their experiences and take part in activities. They make new friends and play with the gentle encouragement and guidance of our team of Family Support Practitioners and volunteers.

Activity Groups

For older children aged 14-18 years

There is no timescale with grief and it’s important to provide support when it’s needed.

Our Young Ambassadors give young people the chance to come together after the death of a loved one to share their experiences of how life is now – and to continue to build resilience and strength for the future.

Advice for Parents

A parent’s natural instinct is to protect their children from pain.  However, it is much better to be honest with them and to talk about death and dying.  We know children can feel confused and angry when excluded from family discussions surrounding illness or death.

Bereaved children need:

  • Truthful information given in an appropriate way.
  • The opportunity to grieve in their own way, to be listened to and to have their feelings respected.
  • Ways to hold on to memories and relationships; children’s fear of forgetting the person who has died is very common.
  • Reassurance that it is normal and ok to want to play and have fun even while grieving.

We provide an active listening service and can signpost you to further support.  Please note, however, we do not provide medical advice, family therapy, counselling, psychotherapy or social work services.

Useful websites

Tynedale Hospice at Home – www.tynedalehospice.com

Winston’s Wish – a charity for bereaved children, young people and their families. – www.winstonswish.org.uk

Child Bereavement Trust – online information for young people who have been bereaved. – www.childbereavement.org.uk

Riprap – when a parent has cancer – www.riprap.org.uk

Macmillan Cancer Support-  www.macmillan.org.uk

Terminal Illness – understanding and coping with terminal illness www.terminalillness.co.uk

Other Services

To find out more about our Family Support Services for Children and Young People, please call 01434 600 384.

In addition to our Family Support Services for Children and Young People, Tynedale Hospice at Home also provides Family Support Services for Adults, Nursing Care in the Home and a Hospital Transport Service.

Each year it costs around £900,000 to run our services and 90% of this must be raised through voluntary giving and charitable donations.  To make a donation to support our services or to find out how you can fundraise for Tynedale Hospice at Home, please call our fundraising team on 01434 606 444 or email: fundraising@tynedalehospice.com

What others say about us…

“The ability to be able to mix with like-minded children of a similar age has been incredibly helpful for my son. He has formed strong bonds with children in a similar position, and he is able to relax in their company knowing that they ‘get it’, without any explanation needed.”

‘The Rainbow Room has truly been our sanctuary; somewhere we could laugh, cry and just be who we needed to be. It has helped me to help my daughter and has helped her to begin to make sense of the nightmare we found ourselves in. The support we have received has been second to none.”