Family bereavement charity Jigsaw (South East) has joined forces with national cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support to provide a new service for children and young people where a family member has a life-limiting illness.
Jigsaw (South East) – formerly part of Jigsaw4u – is based in East Grinstead and has many years experience working with children and young people who have experienced the death of a significant family member.
The death of someone close brings change and challenge into the life of a young person and can be devastating. One in 25 school-age children have experienced the death of a parent, brother or sister, and many more are affected by the death of someone else close.
Although some children manage a significant bereavement with support from family, friends and others, many more – often the most vulnerable in our society – do not. Statistically bereaved children are more likely than their peers to leave school early with few or no qualifications, to visit their GP and A & E more and have more overnight stays in hospital and serious illnesses.
They are also more likely to leave home early, have teenage pregnancies, be supported by Youth Offending and Drug and Alcohol services and experience emotional and behavioural difficulties than their peers. Childline reports higher incidences of bullying and physical, emotional and sexual abuse to this group of children.
Recent research is now indicating higher levels of distress in children and young people (aged up to 19 years) before an anticipated death than after and so Jigsaw (South East) has formed a partnership with Macmillan to deliver child-centred holistic support for children and young people where a significant family member has a terminal diagnosis.
This support will be delivered to children within the context of their families and will be designed individually for each child and family and will include:
• Initial meeting in the family home or at school
• Individual work with children in the home or at school
• Sibling, family or small groups
• Signposting to other agencies and organisations
• Information and advice
• Information, resources and support to professionals working with families and children within Surrey and bordering towns
• Telephone advice and consultation
Health and social care professionals across the south east and members of the media joined us at three service launches throughout Surrey including Woking (Tuesday 19th June), Reigate (Tuesday 26th June) and Farnham (Tuesday 3rd July).