Wiltshire Treehouse, a charity that supports children who have been bereaved, is marking its five year anniversary by expanding. The charity is looking for the support of businesses and the local community in order to set up a hub in the Wiltshire area.
A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK; that’s around 23,600 a year. That’s equal to around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every single day. (Child Bereavement UK, 2016)
With limited specialist bereavement support available for families in Wiltshire, the charity will be opening its doors to Wiltshire families this year. Swindon families have benefitted from their support since set up in 2014 and Wiltshire families will now be able to access the support programmes running from their Swindon base.
However, this is not enough for the charity, who want to set up a hub in Wiltshire where they can deliver more of the support programmes for primary and secondary aged children. Wiltshire Treehouse already have funding from The National Lottery Community Fund which will help with some costs, and they hope to have the new hub up and running by late this year.
Kath Brownlee, Bereavement Service Lead, said, “We often receive calls from parents and professionals in Wiltshire, looking for help for a child whose parent, sibling or close family member has died. These deaths can cause anger, anxiety and great sadness for children and young people, and parents don’t know who to turn to. Up until now we’ve had to explain that we don’t have the capacity to help them.”
In order to succeed the charity are looking for individuals to volunteer within Swindon and/or Wiltshire; without this support the programmes just cannot run. Wiltshire Treehouse are also seeking companies who may like to provide corporate assistance, either through employee volunteering, charity partnerships or skills sharing.
With volunteer training planned for June, Wiltshire Treehouse aims to have the new team ready to help families later this year.
“Before Treehouse, we’d never met any other children who were dealing with bereavement,” said Darren, whose child attended the family support programme. “For us the power of being in a room of likeminded people was simply invaluable. Our little boy still speaks about Treehouse now; the stories that he read with the group and the arts and crafts that he still has stuck up on his wall which are a reminder of the skills he learnt to process his grief.”