Hospice appeal to give hope to grieving children
End-of-life charity, Treetops Hospice, is asking for support for their fundraising appeal to help care for bereaved children and young people like 15 year old Maisie.
When her grandparents died just months apart, Maisie Denney, from Breaston in Derbyshire, struggled to express her grief, and felt alone:
‘My grandparents were such a big part of my life. They were lovely, so sweet and caring. I used to sleep at their house a lot and they were always there to help me. I learnt to bake from my grandma. She taught me when I was really young, and I have most of her recipes. We used to bake together and then Grandad would be the one to eat it all’.
‘When they died, I didn’t feel much at first but then I started to really struggle with it. I didn’t want to talk about it, and I felt quite alone. Not a lot of my friends had lost anyone, so it was really difficult.’
Maisie started coming for bereavement counselling at Treetops.
‘It was a relief to finally have someone to talk to. My counsellor told me it was okay to let my emotions out and it was okay to cry. I started to feel a lot more calm, a lot more relaxed and it was easier to talk about things. My counsellor was so supportive. If I had anything on my mind, I knew I could just come here and talk about it. Treetops were there for anything. I still get upset thinking about my grandparents because grief doesn’t just go away. It takes time. But I have a lot more coping mechanisms now that definitely help me. I was taught different breathing techniques and how to remember them without having to talk about it, like expressing myself through music or art.’
Maisie’s mum, Zoe, explained how vital the counselling was:
‘It was an awful time. It was devasting to lose one close member of the family but in six months we actually lost three, which is unimaginable really. I think Maisie just didn’t know, or understand, how to feel. She wasn’t sure of her feelings or how to express herself so it was really important for us a as family that Maisie could access some support. Once she’d started the counselling, I could see that she was able to express herself more easily and talk about things, without feeling like she couldn’t or shouldn’t. She always felt really safe coming to Treetops, and they gave her some strategies in moving forward and keeping going while still being able to talk about things and realise her feelings. We’re so grateful to Treetops for their support.’
Treetops Head of Children’s Services, Jules Kirk, explained that the service is experiencing a huge increase in children and young people needing counselling support.
‘The last eighteen months has been incredibly difficult for children like Maisie who’ve lost a loved one. Being in and out of isolation, not having family and friends around, and being unable to say goodbye at funerals, has all had a detrimental effect on how they have coped. Children handle grief differently than adults. Often, they can’t put their feelings into words and can find themselves struggling with a powerful range of emotions.’
With counselling, children can be helped to understand what has happened and can learn to live with their loss.
‘We are trying our best to support all the local children who need us,’ continues Jules. ‘At times, we must prioritise therapy for those most in need, such as children who have suffered a traumatic bereavement. Through this appeal, we hope to raise £20,000 to help expand our service so that we can help more local children. Each donation can change a child’s life by offering them support, understanding and hope.’
A gift of £10 could pay for a child’s bereavement starter pack with materials to help them express their grief. A gift of £34.50 could pay for a child’s one to one counselling session. And £75.50 could pay for a child to attend two group sessions of specialist non-verbal bereavement therapy.
To make a donation to the Treetops appeal, please head to www.treetops.org.uk/summer-appeal
Treetops Hospice is the leading end-of-life care charity in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, those who’ve been bereaved, and their families.
Founded in 1983, Treetops supports thousands of patients – and their families – through the most difficult time of their lives.
Last year, Treetops team of bereavement counsellors provided over 4,000 counselling sessions – over 900 of them to children and young people.
Treetops Hospice is a registered charity, which costs £4.3 million each year to run. They must raise 70% of this, £8,300 a day, through voluntary donations, charity shops, fundraising events, lottery memberships and gifts in wills.
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