BEREAVEMENT counsellors at Great Western Hospital have embarked on an ambitious project to set up a countywide charity to ensure grieving families receive the support they need.
Rebecca King and Helen Pepler run the Rainbow Club, a support group for children who have lost a loved one, and recently started Butterflies, aimed not only at youngsters but their relatives or carers.
The four-week bereavement programme, set up with help from charity Child Bereavement UK in January, was designed to allow children and adults to air their feelings of anger or pain in a safe, judgment-free environment.
On the back of this success, the pair have embarked on a mission to create a new charity for Swindon and Wiltshire, Treehouse, with the help of other groups and partners to roll out more consistent and thorough bereavement support in communities and schools.
“Butterflies allow children and adults to express whatever feeling they might experience,” said Rebecca.
“Often they have difficulty expressing these feelings. It’s about giving them coping strategies and giving them a safe place to talk about their grief. Grief is a very individual thing and within a family people grieve separately. It’s about coming together and realising where they are at in their grief. It is a new venture and we are hoping to run it twice a year.
“This is quite a big thing to be running and we are now trying to set up a countywide charity for bereaved families.”
The duo are hoping to hold a scoping meeting shortly with others providing bereavement support in the region to explore how to launch Treehouse and the services it could offer.
Both Rainbow Club and Butterflies would come under the Treehouse umbrella.
Helen added: “We want to meet with all interested people providing bereavement support in Wiltshire to identify what the gaps are and how we can work together to provide help.”
To volunteer with or sign up to the Butterflies group or if you work in bereavement, contact Rebecca or Helen on 01793 605133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.