In 2015, Child Bereavement UK concluded a three year project (funded by the Department of Health) where we endeavoured to improve bereavement support in six areas across England that featured highly on the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

In each area, we established a Bereavement Advisory Group bringing together representation from Health, Education, Social Care, Voluntary Organisations and Bereaved Families. We also held study days and training opportunities in each area, and in some cases collaborated with other services to reach more bereaved children and families. A bereavement pathway – with reference to local and national services – was created for each area, along with information on the range of support needs that children and families may experience (with the acceptance that many bereaved individuals require only a modicum of support if they have an understanding family, school, workplace or social circle).

To date, the Stoke-on-Trent Advisory Group continues to meet as the Stoke and Staffordshire Bereavement Alliance, chaired by Dot Gillespie who is CEO of Donna Louise Children’s Hospice in Stoke. In addition to the training and networking the group achieved during the original project period, they have since held three successful conferences to raise awareness and offer training to local practitioners including teachers, nurses and social workers.

We have collaborated with local charities including:

The Dove Service, A Child of Mine, Donna Louise Trust, and St Giles Hospice.

Close relationships were also forged with the Staffordshire CDOP (Child Death Overview Panel) which led to wide training across health and police services. The Dove Service is probably the best known support intervention in the area and Child Bereavement UK continues to maintain links with the Advisory Group.