North WestWinston’s Wish, the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK, held an information and advice event at Bolton Science and Technology Centre to raise awareness amongst school-aged children of the charity’s work supporting children bereaved of a parent or sibling.

Winston’s Wish offer local services from two hubs at Leigh and Wigan, providing therapeutic support to children who have been bereaved and their families.

The children who attended from the 30 local primary and secondary schools were given a selection of age-appropriate books and leaflets produced by Winston’s Wish, explaining some of the emotions they may experience as a result of loss and terminal illness of either a parent of sibling.

The cost of resources was paid for in full by Bolton Council.

Rebekah Lawson, the Winston’s Wish Family Services Team Leader in the North West, said:

“We know that one child in every classroom has experienced a significant bereavement. This event helped to ensure schools have the right resources and knowledge around childhood grief to safeguard local children and help their families get the right support. We are grateful this event has been made possible with the help from Bolton Council who funded all the vital resources for schools”.

The event was a big success: 29/30 of the schools in attendance reported that they will recommend other schools to this event; similarly 26/30 felt more confident after the event and reported an improved understanding on how to support children bereaved in school – and when to refer.

Susan Cornwell, Head of SEN Services and Principal Educational Psychologist from Bolton Council, said:

“This type of event is invaluable for children, teachers and other school staff, teaching them how to identify, sensitively support and engage with a child who is bereaved of a parent or sibling”.

Winston’s Wish has already received referrals to its clinical services from this event.

The team, including newly-appointed Senior Practitioner Cash Singh, also tackled the hot topic of culture and religion-specific bereavement advice.

Winston’s Wish helps children and young people rebuild their lives after the death of their mum, dad, brother or sister, enabling them to face the future with confidence and hope. Each year, Winston’s Wish supports over 30,000 bereaved children and young people through an array of dedicated services.

The Winston’s Wish drop-ins for the North West region run weekly in Wigan and Leigh, open to anyone who would like to find out more about the charity or would like to meet with other people in relation to a bereavement.

Tuesday drop-in sessions are held every Tuesday from 11am-1pm at Compassion in Action, Patrick House, 58 Leigh Rd, Leigh, WN7 1QR.

Wednesday drop-in sessions are held every Wednesday from 3.30-5.30pm at Sunshine House, Wellington Street, Wigan, WN1 3SA.