New Teenage Support Group


Seven grieving young people are coming together to share their experiences and talk about their feelings in our new Teenage Support Group.

The group, aged from 13 to 16, have all had 1:1 support from the Family Support Team at Tynedale Hospice at Home. Now they are looking forward to meeting other young people in our new group.

“Grief can be an isolating experience for people, young and old, who are struggling to find their way forward in a world changed by the death of a loved one,” said Family Support Practitioner Emma Andrews. “So meeting others who “just get it” because they, too, are grieving the death of a special person, can be a huge comfort, while helping them to build connections and forge new friendships for the future.”

While all their stories are very different, they are all united in their feelings of grief and loss as, day by day, they start to process what has happened and, crucially, begin to understand their feelings.

Find out more about our pre and post bereavement support for children and young people here:

Fathers’ Day without Dad

If you are grieving the death of your father you may be dreading Fathers’ Day on Sunday June 16.

But, with a little preparation and some careful thought, this celebration of the love we feel for our fathers and how they have shaped our lives, can still be a special day say the Family Support team at Tynedale Hospice at Home.

“For what seems like weeks now, Fathers’ Day cards have been appearing in shelves in shops all over Tynedale,” says Family Support Practitioner Val Jewitt. “When you are grieving, these cards can seem like a stark reminder of everything we lose when a parent dies. But the love we feel does not die – and taking time out to remember them and celebrate how they shaped your life can be a huge comfort.”

The Family Support team has a few ideas that may help grieving families on Sunday, June 16:

  • Share stories: Sitting down together to talk about Dad/Grandad and listening to each other’s memories can feel very special. Lots of families worry that if they start to talk about their memories, they may upset each other. But it’s OK to cry together, and to laugh. You never stop thinking about the loved ones in your life who have died – and you can still learn things about them from others after they have died.
  • Buy a card: Many people like to start a memory box after a loved one has died – and continue to put things in it for years after the death. Cards to celebrate special days that particularly remind you of them can help you keep those memories alive. Treasure them. Buy a card that captures your feelings or describes your relationship with your father. Thoughtful, serious or funny, the card you choose can help put your emotions and thoughts into words.
  • Listen to Dad’s favourite music: Whether it’s Frank Sinatra or the Sex Pistols, listening to Dad’s favourite music can make you smile – and even dance – in his memory. Music is incredibly evocative. You may even have a recording of Dad playing the guitar or singing which you can share with loved ones.
  • Do something that Dad would have loved: A family game of rounders or football, a barbecue in the garden or a Star Wars movie marathon – spend the day in tribute to your father by doing something that he would have loved.

“Whatever you do, make sure you listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much (or as little) as you are able,” says Val. “Don’t put yourself under any pressure. And please remember, that if you need support, the Family Support team is here.”

Charity Film Award Success !!


A film made by bereaved teenagers at Tynedale Hospice at Home has been awarded a prestigious national accolade.

The film, “Grief as a Teenager” created by six teenagers all bereaved of a parent, was awarded a bronze at the Charity Film Awards.

“We were up against some tough competition so to come away with a bronze is amazing!” said Family Support Practitioner Emma Andrews.  “The gold in our category went to a film on the Thames narrated by David Attenborough and the overall winner was the Child Bereavement UK film Just One More Minute which featured Rio Ferdinand and Princes William and Harry. A truly wonderful film. As you can imagine we gave them a particularly massive cheer!”

The group of excited teenagers travelled to London with Emma and the Hospice’s Chief Executive Office, Mike Thornicroft for the awards ceremony which was compered by actress Sally Phillips.

“This is an amazing achievement,” said Mike. “I am thrilled, delighted and exceptionally proud of the team and of the young people in the making of this film.

“I would like to remember in particular that this film was part of the exceptional and innovative care provided to young people in our community living with bereavement. The film was part of that care process, not created for any other purpose than to help those involved and go on helping families and young people living with bereavement in our community. The film is now regularly used by the Family Support Team in their sessions.”

The film, “Grief as a Teenager” brought together six teenagers who had all received one-to-one support from the Family Support Team at Tynedale Hospice at Home.

From the very beginning of the creative process the group were determined to tell their stories without sugar-coating. “We wanted to tell it how it is,” said Amelia Rust, whose father died suddenly of a heart condition while she was away in India on a school trip.

“I have loved being a part of this group and I am so proud of what we have achieved. I will never forget this experience.”

Mike paid tribute to the young people for their “openness, maturity and compassion to help others facing or experiencing bereavement.”

He added: “It is also a ringing endorsement of the Family Support Team at Tynedale Hospice at Home.  It is a public affirmation of the quality, high standards and innovative style of our care. This film and this award in particular will enable our message to reach many, many more people.”

We’re Charity Film Awards finalists!

Our ‘Grief as a Teenager’ Film gets national recognition.

Lighting up special memories

A memory lantern workshop supports families who are bereaved.

Hospice film in Charity Film Awards!

Your vote could help us get on the shortlist.

Young people’s film helps others cope with bereavement

Six young people share their personal stories of grief to help others.

Finding someone to listen and make sense of my feelings


“Having just finished GCSE’s and with the whole world in front of me, caring for my dying Mother at home and losing her just before Christmas is not what I had imagined I would be facing as a 16 year old.

I lived alone with my Mum, Judith, and a week before I started sixth form she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mum was a social worker. She was caring, creative and really good to all of her friends. We were really close but when she became ill, things changed. All of a sudden I had to learn to care for my Mum by myself, I had to learn to cook, clean and learn basic medical skills. Mum was in so much pain and although district nurses visited, every night I was on my own.

When you know that you are going to lose the person you love, obviously you want to have as many happy times as you can but… that is not the reality of caring for someone who is dying. When I was awake in the middle of the night, helping Mum to go to the toilet or cleaning up after she had been sick. I felt so alone. I knew that my friends wouldn’t be doing the same. It is so easy to feel that you are the only person in the whole world who is having to do this sort of thing, that you are the only person who has got a Mum who is dying or that you are the only one who has lost a parent. You can’t underestimate the help you need when caring for someone who is dying or how much there is to do. If I’d had more help that would have made a difference.

Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Rainbow Room

Finding someone to listen and making sense of my feelings: I first heard about the family and bereavement support at Tynedale Hospice after my teacher at school told me about Emma. Emma, one of the practitioners, had visited my school to help other children whose loved ones had died. I visited the Hospice’s Rainbow Room, a special, safe and colourful place where young people like me can begin to talk and make sense of what we are feeling.

I wanted to keep school separate from everything that was going on at home and although my friends helped, often they didn’t know what to say.

I met with Emma and Carla from the Hospice every couple of weeks and kept in touch via email and phone and it made the world of difference.

Thanks to their support, I could talk through my feelings, get them out in the open and process them in my own mind. I understood that it was ok to be angry, to be cross at Mum and that it wasn’t wrong to be feeling that way. I also understood that I wasn’t alone. Without talking I would have gone mad.

Mum was happy I could go to the Hospice and in the weeks before she died, visiting the Rainbow Room and talking helped me to understand my grief better – even when everything around me felt out of control.

Anna in the Rainbow Room

Treasured memories: Carla gave me a notebook to write in – during one of the first sessions I wrote down words that reminded me of Mum – it was helpful to have something physical to do. I also created my ‘Mum box’ – a box of memories about Mum, and even now I go back and add to it. It’s good to have the box there.

Sometimes I find it quite hard to remember Mum before she was ill. My main memory of her is the person that was dying but the Mum Box helps to remind me of all the happy moments we had and with the help of Carla, I’ve been able to hold onto safe memories, like Mum and I sitting in the garden and Mum working on her tapestry as ‘Boo’, our cat played around us!

Unlimited support: Mum died, aged 47, on the 9th December 2016. I felt overwhelmed and for a long time I didn’t feel like talking or coming to see Carla and Emma, so I had a break – I always knew the support was there if I needed it and that helped. Nearly a year later, I was invited to take part in the teenage Film Club at Tynedale Hospice and I accepted. I met with 5 other teenagers, all of whom had lost a parent. Together we have put a film together that helps explain our experiences, talks about our feelings and what grief is like. Recently we went to Broomley Grange Activity Centre and I braved muddy tunnels and high wires in the trees before sitting down with my film club friends around a bonfire to toast marshmallows and reflect on our shared experiences and achievements. We had all been through horrible things but the day was fun, challenging and helped to take our mind off things.

Family Support Practitioners are on hand to help.

I am taking back control! It’s been more than a year since Mum died and I just keep in mind that this happened to me and there is nothing I can do about that but the emotional skills it will have equipped me with will last me my whole life. Nothing will ever, ever be as scary as going to my Mum’s funeral, and if I can face that, then I can face anything. Soon I hope to go to University to study chemistry. Looking back, it’s been good to have the opportunity to reflect, pause and try to put what I’ve been through into words.

Grief is a weight that you carry around, it is unexpected and it will get you at the worst of times. You can’t decide what day it’s going to be, grief will decide. But it does get easier and you learn to live with it and it’s a bit nicer when you’ve learned how to live with it.

I had no idea what to expect when I came to the Rainbow Room at Tynedale Hospice but I was shown so much care and given more support than I could ever imagine. I had the opportunity to say what I was thinking without judgement and I received support from such lovely people who go out of their way to make a difference. The support I’ve received from Tynedale Hospice is unique and something I couldn’t have accessed anywhere else.”

Tynedale Hospice at Home’s Family Support Service provides help to children, young people, individuals and families who are facing bereavement or who have been bereaved.  Our services are free and available to all and you don’t have to have been touched by our Hospice care to receive this service.  To find out more, please call 01434 600 384.

Wow – what a year!

As 2017 draws to close we want to say a huge thanks everyone in our community who has supported Tynedale Hospice at Home over the last year.

It has been a busy year for the Hospice with continued demand for our nursing care service in the home and our pre and post bereavement support through our Family Support Service.   Our Hospital Transport Service goes from strength to strength and our volunteer drivers have traveled over 40,600 miles this year helping people with life-limiting illnesses attend vital hospital appointments.  Meanwhile our retail shops continue to play an important role in our community with a loyal shopping base in both Hexham and Ponteland.

In the last 12 months, we have seen some very positive changes. We are now working out of new premises providing us with both an administrative centre and dedicated spaces for use by the Family Support Service.  And our new website is already paying dividends, with people being able to find out about us and get involved with our work more easily than ever before.

Working with us there is a dedicated and loyal team of over 200 volunteers.  We couldn’t do any of our work without their support.  They provide help in our office, in our Family Support and Hospital Transport Services, in our shops and out and about in our community working with us to raise vital funds to support Tynedale Hospice at Home. They are at the heart of what we do and we would like to thank each and every one of you.

It costs over £800,000 a year to run our services and 90 per cent of this must be raised through voluntary giving, legacies and other fundraising activities, so a huge thanks must also go to everyone who has fundraised for us this year – from individuals hosting bake sales or taking on sporting challenges like the Great North Run, to companies who support us through our Business Ambassador scheme, selling raffle tickets or hosting sponsored events.

We simply couldn’t do what we do without this support.

Our volunteers and supporters are at the heart of Tynedale Hospice at Home, helping us to deliver care and support where it’s needed – in the heart of the local community.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in the local community, our volunteers and our supporters a very happy Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year!