The project, named ECHOES – East Cheshire Hospice Ongoing Emotional Support, supports local children in learning to cope with feelings of grief and loss following the death of a loved one.
The funding covers the cost of the service for five years, and after this, the hospice hopes to integrate children’s bereavement counselling as part of its core service.
Referrals for children’s grief counselling are currently being accepted from children related to adult patients in the hospice, although this remit may extend to the wider community in the future. The project will also work with local schools and childcare providers to help them learn how to deal with children’s bereavement.
Lindsey Dobson, the ECHOES children’s counsellor, brings her specialist experience from working with children whilst at Blythe House Hospice. She said: “The ECHOES project is set up to provide support in a variety of ways – via one-to-one therapies with children who are family members of patients at East Cheshire Hospice as well as support groups and advice to parents, schools and other adults involved in how to talk to children about this sensitive topic, training days with schools and other organisations that may benefit from it – so that the wider community is supported better as people become more aware of how children grieve and how to support these children.”