A woman from York who lost her husband is sharing her story to try and encourage people to speak about grief.
Jo Cole set up The Bereavement Children’s Support Charity (BCSY) in May 2016 after her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly.
This ended up leaving her and her 8-year-old son unable to find any support in York.
She said that “grieving as a child can be incredibly isolating and lonely” leading to her set up the charity to make a change.
“I wanted to provide a space where children and young people could come together and play, be creative and make friends knowing that everyone there had experienced something similar,” she said.
Since the charity started it has grown tremendously starting out in a small coffee shop with six children attending to expanding to The Storehouse just off Foss Islands Road with over 120 children attending some of the sessions.
One in 29 school age children in the UK have been bereaved of a parent or sibling says the charity.
The charity is supporting Children’s Grief Awareness week which runs from the 15th until the 21st of November this year.
It’s a chance for people to come together to show their support for bereaved children across the UK.
The theme this year is #rememberwhen which encourages families to share memories together of the person in their life they have lost.
Whether it’s a place, a joke, a food or a story, it gives them a chance to share memories with others and find out more about their family members.
There is lots of support for the cause on twitter including Lucy Martin who says:
“This is so important! When i lost my baby brother nobody knew what to say or do and it’s had such an impact on my life. Talk. Listen. Cry. Do what you need to do to grieve, but also help your children. #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek.”
This is so important! When I lost my baby brother nobody knew what to say or do and it’s had such an impact on my life. Talk. Listen. Cry. Do what you need to do to grieve, but also help your children ❤️ #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek https://t.co/xDmrvAWed9
— Lucy Martin (@luciejoanna) November 16, 2018
Cyan Rose is also supporting the cause tweeting: “I #RememberWhen I wanted your hair, you wanted mine. I wish I could tell you how beautiful I thought you were. #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek.”
— Cyan Rose ★ (@Cyan_Rose) November 16, 2018
Due to the charity expanding they also now offer monthly 1:1 therapeutic support for those children who need it, however this is just available to children from York.
They also offer the parents fortnightly coffee meet ups which started towards the end of last year and they have proved invaluable for parents having the opportunity to talk to others in a similar situation and sharing experiences.
Jo says she is “passionate about supporting bereaved children through this most devastating of experiences constantly looking for ways to help them manage their grief in any way possible.”
The BCSY is a non-profit charity who rely solely on donations and will be marking Children’s Grief Awareness Week by trying to raise the profile of the issues grieving children and young people face and our charity on social media.
It is an initiative launched by the Childhood Bereavement Network, the UK body for support groups in the grief and bereavement sector, and Grief Encounter, one of the UK’s leading bereavement charities.
24,000 parents die each year leaving dependent children that need support, according to the Childhood Bereavement Network.
There are many ways that people can get involved in supporting the cause such as; joining the social media campaign, run an awareness event or download the Supporter Poster and tweet a picture of yourself with it.