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Project information

St John's Hospice Child Bereavement Service

A dedicated Child Bereavement Service will provide specialised support to children affected by the death of a patient at St John’s. Counselling, workshops and practical support will be provided to help them cope with their loss and overcome any anxiety, isolation or difficulties they are facing.

January 2012 – onwards

Charity information: St. John's Hospice

St. John's Hospice logo
  • Need


    There is limited access to dedicated child bereavement services in the 7 London boroughs we serve. Demand is high, far outstripping the resources in the statutory/charitable sectors. In addition to children connected to St John’s, we receive frequent requests from schools seeking advice about supporting bereaved children in the classroom. Our social workers have been providing the support that they can, but capacity is limited and for every child they support there are 2 more which they cannot.


    In order to narrow this gap in care, St John’s is establishing a dedicated Child Bereavement Service. A part-time social worker will be hired, a Children’s Project Lead, to focus solely on helping children who have lost a loved one, either at the Hospice or in the community.

    We are seeking funds to support this role for 3 days a week.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Address complex and individual needs of each bereaved child.


    » Provide one-to-one support for bereaved children with complex needs.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by offering specialist bereavement support to approximately 100 children per year thereby addressing an area of unmet need in this area of care.

    Aim 2

    Create a forum for children to meet and interact with other bereaved children.


    » Organise and run regular group workshops to help children cope with their loss through games & arts.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by organising and facilitating creative workshops in a 12 month period.

    Aim 3

    Provide practical bereavement support and advice for families, parents and adult carers.


    » The project lead will ensure that families receive accurate advice and that they are informed of all the available resources and information

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by qualitative feedback from parents and family members.

    Aim 4

    Help low-income families access practical financial assistance and benefit entitlements.


    » The project lead will ensure that families receive our help and that they are informed of all the available resources and information

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by ensuring all low income families secure the financial support to which they are entitled.

    Aim 5

    Extend the children's bereavement service to the wider community in north and north west London.


    » Work within the community, in schools and acute hospitals (St Mary’s & Imperial College), to support bereaved children.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by the level of referrals we receive from local schools and from outside the Hospice.

  • Impact


    The service will reduce mental health problems among bereaved children and minimise symptoms such as loss of confidence, stress & anxiety. The service will also be a resource in the wider community by offering support to local schools so they know where to refer bereaved children. We will demonstrate success by rigorous monitoring. On a quarterly basis we will review:

    - children and parents who access the service
    - children who received one-to-one support
    - teachers trained in bereavement


    There is a risk that we would not receive adequate numbers of referrals but this is unlikely to happen as we ensure that we have good networks and connections with local GPs, schools, faith groups, community groups etc. The piot year of the project has proved the demand for the service.


    Donors to this project will receive a quarterly report via email or in writing, detailing the latest activity, progress made regarding numbers of children who are being supported and qualitative feedback on the service from the children and their families.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £28,000 Salary Children's support social worker (0.6 FTE)
      £7,000 Pension, NI, training Pension contributions, national insurance & continuous professional development
      £3,000 Bereavement workshops Room hire, refreshments, travel expenses, materials
      £2,000 Administration IT, telephone, mailouts, printing costs for leaflet design
  • Background


    Patients and their families are from a diverse area of Central and North West London which covers Camden, Barnet, Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent, Islington, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea. Across our catchment area there are many pockets of deprivation and many older people living alone. The Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks five of the seven local authorities we serve as being in the 25% most deprived local authorities in England.


    Primary beneficiaries are the children of patients from St John’s Hospice, in addition to children who may be referred to the service from the wider community.

    Secondary beneficiaries are the family members of children accessing the bereavement service, as they see an improvement in social, emotional and physical health and well-being.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There is no other Child Bereavement Service offered within north or north west London. St John’s Hospice is has already delivered a pilot project and therefore we know the service works and achieves results. Presently, we can support only one third of the children who need our help.

    One child that has received our help commented:

    “It made me feel happy because we talked about my Dad so much.”

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mrs Suzy Croft, Senior Social Worker At St John's Hospice

    Suzy Croft will supervise the project and manage the Project Lead. Suzy has over 20 years’ social work experience.