It is estimated that every 22 minutes a child or young person in the UK is bereaved of a parent. 1 in 25 of school aged children (between 5yrs and 16yrs) will have experienced the death of a parent or sibling and this does not account for those who have lost another significant person eg grandparent, uncle, cousin or a close friend.
The Simon Says Helpline receives over 500 calls per year requesting support and/or information for helping bereaved children from all over Hampshire. On average 750 bereaved children and young people attend the Simon Says support groups per annum. Almost 50% of these deaths have been sudden deaths eg heart attack, road traffic accidents suicide, or murder.
Simon Stanley was a 37-year-old teacher from Southampton, Hampshire, when he died from cancer. His wife, Sally, found there was no bereavement support locally for their two sons, Andrew (5) and Tom (2). Research indicated that The Stanley’s experience was not unique and there was a wider need to provide resources and information to children, parents, teachers, health professionals and emergency services in Hampshire.
Simon Says became a registered charity in 2001 with the aim of supporting children and young people within Hampshire, who have a close relative or friend who has died or is dying. The death of someone important can have a devastating effect on a young person, but we know that given appropriate support and information, children and young people can be helped to understand what has happened and can be helped to rebuild their lives.
Our mission is to provide support for children and young people up to the age of 18, living in the county of Hampshire, who have a significant person in their life who has died or is dying.
When children lose someone close to them they may feel angry, guilty, frightened and alone. It can be very difficult for a parent, carer, close relative or friend to help a bereaved child when they are grieving too. ‘Simon Says’ aims to:
· Offer information and advice to enable them to move forward in their lives, while remembering their significant person
· Provide a telephone support line available to families and professionals seeking advice or support
· Host monthly age appropriate support groups (Basingstoke, Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh, New Milton, Gosport and Portsmouth)
· Offer the opportunity to meet other families who have also been bereaved
· Support and provide advice and training to teachers, and other professionals working with bereaved children and young people. This includes: advice on a bereavement policy; general talks; assemblies about the work of the charity or fundraising; help setting up a group within the school environment; specific resources and session plans
· Hold an annual residential weekend
Simon Says does not receive any government funding and relies on the generosity and goodwill of organisations and individuals. So, if you are able to support Simon Says all donations are welcomed and very much appreciated. Please visit virgin money giving here to donate and if you’d like to follow the charity online visit Facebook – Simon Says Child Bereavement Support & Twitter @SimonSaysCBS
Here’s a poem written by Leah, a young lady supported by Simon Says Child Bereavement Support