Anglo Pacific & Winston’s Wish working together
As a result of personal experience of our staff and their families who have suffered bereavement and the impact of the Channel 4 documentary The Mummy Diaries, which received international acclaim, Anglo Pacific support Winston’s Wish, the charity for bereaved children and their families.
Over one year:
About Winston's Wish
Winston's Wish was founded in 1992 to provide support and both practical and emotional help to children who suffered a bereavement in their immediate family. Winston's Wish is now recognised as the leading organisation in this field. At Winston's Wish:
Winston's Wish employs 29 staff, 10 clinically trained practitioners, who provide support to children and their families (directly and through our Helpline), 10 providing administrative and accounts support and 9 fundraisers. Many of these people are part-time. There are also 170 clinically trained volunteers, who work directly with children at Camp Winston, our residential weekend for groups of children.
Every year 13,000 children and their families use our national Helpline as the first point of call to access our services. This results in £500 worth of our award-winning publications being sent to families for free every single week. For example Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine, is an activity book for younger children, which suggests a series of helpful activities, to help children remember the person who has died. Following contact with our Helpline Winston's Wish provides a full programme of support, including Camp Winston, to over 250 families each year.
Our hope is that bereaved children are able to go on and lead independent and fulfilling lives. Over one year with the help of Anglo Pacific, a further 10 children and their families will benefit from a full programme of support, helping them to face the future with hope.
On Father's Day, as every day this year, 48 children in the UK will experience the loss of a parent. In our experience, three fathers die to every mother.
For those caring for these children, our Helpline (08452 03 04 05) is their first port of call for guidance and support. Often immediate advice such as whether or not to include the children in the funeral arrangements is sought from our practitioners. This leads on to questions about a child's behaviour, conduct at school and the reaction of friends to the news. 'A Child's Grief', is sent free of charge to all families who call our Helpline - offering practical advice and information to adults who are caring for a bereaved child. The Helpline continues to be an on-going point of contact throughout the programme.
After an 'at home assessment', children and their families are invited to attend Camp Winston - a residential weekend for children aged from 6 to 18.
"Peer support groups are one of the best ways to help bereaved children heal. They are allowed and encouraged to tell their stories as much and as often as they like".
Dr Alan Wolfelt. PhD
Camp Winston is, for many children, their first experience away from home since the death. At the core of this weekend, is the encouragement by our practitioners for parents and children to meet others who have shared similar experiences, to share their stories and gain confidence and self-esteem through team building activities. We encourage the children to create a memory box, which becomes a keepsake of items to remind them of the person who died. This might include birthday cards, a bottle of their perfume and photographs. Encouraging children to store keepsakes is an important area of our work, as many children are afraid of forgetting the person who has died. A group setting may be the first time a bereaved young person will encounter another bereaved person, an experience that has a uniquely powerful effect on self-esteem and reducing isolation.
"He's a completely different person. In the car he was talking all the time. He's been so quiet since the death; the weekend really brought him out. I was able to talk to him as well. Before camp he never ever talked about it."
Parent, July Camp 2005.
Six weeks later, families are invited to a post-Camp follow up to reflect on their experiences with our practitioners. This is an opportunity to discuss changes in family communication; any changes in behaviour and of course any concerns that they may have. Our open door policy encourages families to access our services for as long as they need to. As children reach transitional stages in their life, changes in behaviour are common and parents often seek reassurance and guidance from our practitioners.
Support at the right time can make a lasting and significant difference to a young person's journey through grief. Your support will enable us to help a child:
The story of Winston
Our mascot, Winston Bear, has a wish that all bereaved children will receive the support they need. Winston is a great companion and confident of children as he encourages them to share their thoughts and feelings. We do not raffle Winston Bear as he is kept as a special companion for the children that we meet.
For further information please visit www.winstonswish.org.uk or call 01242 546 163.