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Jigsaw (South East) turns ten!  

We are very proud to be celebrating Jigsaw’s 10th anniversary this year! Jigsaw (South East) was set up in 2012 as an independent charity. Though we are considered ‘young’ in charity terms, the impact of our service in supporting bereaved children and young people has been huge.  

We were thrilled to celebrate the occasion at our 10th Anniversary Ball on 29th April. 

Since Jigsaw was set up ten years ago, we have: 

  • Supported 2133 children and young people  
  • Trained 355 adults in how to help children and young people through their bereavement 
  • Run 43 Family Support Groups  
  • Organised Family Days, activity days and other social events for children and young people 
  • Trained nearly 600 professionals on how they can support bereaved pupils 

The figures speak for themselves, but what matters to us the most is the wellbeing children and young people we support. Our vision is that children and young people will not be alone in their bereavement journey. 

To commemorate this incredible milestone in Jigsaw’s history, we’ve curated accounts from some of the amazing team that have helped to build Jigsaw (South East) into the remarkable charity it is today.  

Nickey Price, Founder

Charity Founder and former Operations Manager, Nickey Price explains why Jigsaw (South East) was set up initially, the challenges it has faced and how it has changed over the years.  

When you witness the impact of bereavement on children, young people and their families you can see how crucial it is that they are able to access the right support in the home and school setting and importantly when they are ready. We are walking alongside them through their bereavement journey, which is tough. 

Jigsaw was set up in response to meet a local need to provide bereavement support for children and families. This was to enable young people to meet others in a similar situation and to work closely with schools so that we could offer advice to professionals within the education setting to support bereaved young people.  

The biggest challenge we faced was funding whilst delivering and establishing the service. This in addition to operations side of the charity, setting up our website, office and crucial admin team who were the first point of contact for families. We were fortunate to have generous supporters in the local community and families who kindly raised funds after receiving support.  

The growth of the charity has exceeded expectations. It has been through challenging times over the years and particularly through Covid as the delivery model had to be changed to online in order to continue the much-needed support.  

It has evolved and developed into a gold star standard thanks to the dedication of the staff, volunteers and the Trustees.  They have all given their energy, professionalism and skills to ensure that the needs of young people and families were met at a desperately sad time in their lives and that they had the support needed to face their future with hope and resilience.

Sue Boag, Grief Support Worker

Grief Support Worker, Sue Boag has worked at the Charity since its inception. Reflecting on the Charity’s evolution over the years, she says: 

Over my time with Jigsaw, the groups for children and young people have remained a constant. These have been held several times a year in various locations across our region. As time has passed, I think two things have changed as to how we approach, or potentially approach these: the impact of social media and the increased awareness of the impact of bereavement and mental health in the community. Plus, of course, the hit from the pandemic.

For social media it means we can reach more people, but also means habits among children, particularly teenagers have changed. Young people from the age of about 12 to 13 upwards seem to increasingly look towards on-line services for information and seem less likely to want to attend our Family Groups. They are more likely to attend social events. Although the underlying tenet that they want to meet other bereaved young people has not changed. Overall bereavement is still an isolating experience, and we aim to help children of all ages reach out and meet others. For the younger age groups, from 5 to 12/13, Family Groups are still a popular option. 

In addition to this, the increased awareness of the impact of bereavement has meant families contact us much earlier than in the past and are seeking information and advice for immediate support. 

It has been a constantly changing environment, as it continues to be, to adapt and change to meet people’s needs. But one thing that has not changed is people’s 100% commitment to helping families and young people navigate one of the most difficult things that will happen in their lives.

Dr Cecilia Hughes, Chair of Trustees & Safeguarding lead

Jigsaw (South East) Trustee, Dr Cecilia Hughes, says of her time at the Charity: 

I am so pleased to be celebrating 10 years of Jigsaw (South East). I became aware of the charity through my work as a Community Paediatrician in East Surrey. It was clear that they offered amazing support to children and families at a very difficult time in their lives. I was very pleased to be asked to be part of the Charity back in 2016, doing the “Doc spot” session as part of the Family Groups. I then became a Trustee in 2017, taking over the Chair role last year. Jigsaw has grown so much since it began in 2012 with a lot of goodwill and limited finances! Our vision is that children and young people will not be alone in their bereavement journey. We are in a good position now to fulfil this vision with a widening range of approaches to support children and families. We are constantly trying to review our support with feedback from children and families.

Being part of a charity is always challenging in terms of getting income in, but is very rewarding. We have an amazing team of people supporting Income generation and an incredible team of support workers doing the work with children and families. I am very proud to be a part of this and look forward to the next ten years!

Hannah Romaine & Molly Humphreys, Young Ambassadors

Young Ambassadors Hannah Romaine and Molly Humphreys, who experienced Jigsaw’s support first-hand, tell us about their experience:  

We both used the services when we were 8 and 9 years old, a session apart, when we both lost our dads to cancer.

Hannah: I attended a very small primary school and was the only person in my school to have lost a parent, so by attending the Jigsaw Family Groups I realised I was not the only young person. I made friends for life attending the groups. All jigsaw events I have attended, I have been made to feel normal as everyone attending is there for the same reasons.

Molly: It’s hard for me to choose a favourite memory of Jigsaw. However, I enjoyed the artistic activities the most due to being a very artsy child. The memory boxes and salt jars are a key memory for me. I also loved the summer barbecue, when I got to see the friends that I made during my time at jigsaw again.

Our paths finally crossed when we were in college where we both got in contact with Jigsaw, and we became Jigsaw’s first Young Ambassadors. Since starting our role in 2017, we have completed Radio interviews (including launching children in need in 2019 for BBC Radio Sussex) and in person after-dinner speeches to name a few!

Ourselves and our families wouldn’t have become the families we are today without the help and support from Jigsaw. It has been so lovely for us to see the Jigsaw family grow and help so many other families like our own over the past years. This is something we are both very proud to be a part of!

Thank you 

Jigsaw (South East) simply would not exist without our amazing trustees, patrons, staff, volunteers, fundraisers and donors. We can’t thank them enough for their unwavering support over the years and we look forward to what the next ten years bring for Jigsaw (South East).  

How you can help us 

With your help we can continue our vital work supporting children through the loss of a loved one. Please donate £10, if you can, in our £10 for 10 years campaign.  

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