POSTED ON OCTOBER 23 2020 AT 08:00
Includem, Scotland’s youth and family support charity, has been appointed by the Scottish Government as the National Childhood Bereavement Coordinator with Denisha Killoh, former stigma co-chair of the Independent Care Review set to coordinate the project.
The charity will work with both service providers and bereaved young people across Scotland to identify best practice, gaps, and recommendations on the current levels of national bereavement support with the mapping process currently underway.
Commenting on her appointment as Project Lead, Denisha Killoh said: “I am passionate about this project because of my own experience of childhood bereavement. After my mum died when I was 14, I felt that there were clear gaps in bereavement services and a lack of signposting to support. Thankfully, I was lucky to have some teachers that were incredibly supportive and helped to keep me on track in school.
“When someone close to you dies, it can be difficult to rebuild your life. This is why it is vital that we work to improve the capacity of the children’s sector, and the wider workforce, so that we can meet all the needs of all children and young people who experience bereavement, as and when they need.
“I’d love to hear from anyone with a personal or professional experience of childhood bereavement to ensure voice will drive the project.”
The project will also look at the definition of bereavement to be more inclusive to include not just the immediate family or birth families but also to include the bereavement from the death of anyone that is close to a young person. This could be including a close friend, a teacher, or a social worker.
On the appointment of includem as the National Childhood Bereavement Coordinator, Martin Dorchester, Chief Executive of Includem added: “includem has seen first-hand the devastating effects that bereavement can have on a young person and their support networks. For some, the loss of a loved one can be the very reason they begin to lose control and that can stay with them well into adulthood.
“Across Scotland, there are many brilliant organisations and individuals delivering this critical support to bereaved children, but the current landscape is inconsistent and needs a more strategic approach. It is our hope that we can play our part in developing a consistent nationwide approach. I welcome the Scottish Government’s trust in includem’s ability to deliver this vital project.”
Children’s Minister Maree Todd MSP said: “We are committed to supporting children and young people who endure the heartache of losing a loved one.
“The appointment of a National Childhood Bereavement Coordinator will help to ensure that the right support is there at the right time. The creation of the role is an important addition to the services already available in schools for bereaved children.
“We will continue to support Denisha and includem in this valuable work. We also continue to work with Integration Authorities, NHS boards and third sector organisations to develop bereavement support services that meet the needs of local communities.”