Hospice provides consultancy to BBC show The Archers

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.
Gary Sanderson and Harry at BBC Broadcasting House

Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City has provided advice to BBC Radio 4 show The Archers on a recent bereavement storyline.

During the episode, Will Grundy loosens up at a workshop for bereaved families with his stepdaughter Mia. He admits it is ‘like breathing fresh air’ to be able to talk about the death of his wife Nic with other people in the same position as him.

His reaction rang true with many Isabel Hospice supporters including Helen Brace, who said “I listened to it and was struck by how well done it all was. Isabel Hospice did a fantastic job. My husband died of cancer when my children were 8 and 11. The scene rang so many bells for me, and how my children have been helped by similar organisations. Thank you for your input, and thank you for helping people live until they die, it makes such a difference for those of us left behind.”

The Isabel Hospice Children’s Bereavement Service worked with the BBC on a number of projects during the BBC Children In Need campaign in November, and this consultancy role was an addition to that collaborative work timed to coincide with National Grief Awareness Week.

During Children In Need, the hospice team travelled to BBC Broadcasting House to be interviewed for a slot during the appeal day of November 19. Harry Sanderson (12), and his dad Gary, spoke about the death of his mum, and how speaking at her funeral (when he was 10) was the hardest thing he had ever done.

Harry said the support he had from Isabel Hospice Children’s Service after her death gave him confidence, and he and his dad didn’t know what they would have done without them. He spoke about meeting other young people at the hospice groups and how that also helped with his grieving process. The interview was played on the BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce show – the most listened to show on the radio.

Tracie Slade, Children’s Service Manager for Isabel Hospice said: “After a death, many children and young people struggle with other attachment issues, like separation anxiety, not wanting to go to school and leave behind the surviving parent in case something happens while they’re not there.

“Children and young people can also become very angry which is difficult then to express as adults and teachers will try to get children to behave and will try to discipline outbursts or try to get children to stop these behaviours.  So children can find going to their surviving parent difficult as they fear upsetting them further.  This can result in acting out at school and them becoming very disruptive, rude and feeling ‘what’s the point’

“The strategies we would use with any child or young person is facilitating difficult conversations and normalising grief, sadness, anger and difficult feelings, even that you can allow yourself to be happy too and celebrate achievements, birthdays, and Christmas.

“Talking through difficult feelings is key to anything and if the child is struggling to communicate or is confused about their feelings using art, crafts and books can help unpick emotions.

“We would also encourage to speak about the deceased and share memories, this helps relieve anxiety about dealing with strong emotions. This can be helped with memory work, making memory boxes, and sharing a favourite meal. “

For more information visit Isabel Hospice

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