A national project to support children and young people who have been bereaved is being led by youth support charity includem.
Over the past year its National Children’s Bereavement Coordinator Project has engaged with more than 100 organisations and individuals across Scotland to map current levels of support, build cross sector relationships and promote a national understanding of childhood grief.
The Scottish Government has now extended the project for a further 12 months to continue to focus on listening to those with a lived experience of childhood bereavement which will ensure going forward those voices are at the core of any future bereavement services.
The extension was welcomed by Project Lead, Denisha Killoh who said:
’I am delighted to see the Project extended for a further 12 months. I know from my own lived experience how vital it is to create an environment where the views of bereaved children and young people are meaningfully heard. This extension gives us the opportunity to engage with more people and will ultimately strengthen our recommendations to Scottish Government.’
Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd, said:
‘Experiencing bereavement during childhood, as at any time in life, can be an incredibly difficult, and our sympathies go out to all of those affected by bereavement. The loss of a loved one, whether that is a parent, carer, friend or other significant person, can have a profound effect on the child or young person and shape future behaviours and so it is important – now more than ever in the current covid-19 pandemic – that we understand the needs of children and young people who have experienced bereavement.
‘The Scottish Government recognises the importance of improving the support and services available for children and young people who have experienced bereavement in Scotland. This help and support must be provided at the right time to help them through the difficult time.
‘I am pleased that we have extended funding to ensure the coordinator is able to understand the current picture across Scotland in order to improve the capacity and capability of families and the children’s sector workforce to respond to children and young people’s needs appropriately.’
Includem works with young people across the country who are experiencing challenges dealing with day-to-day living. It offers tailored intensive support to build confidence and social skills to help them progress towards better lives. It’s chief executive Martin Dorchester, added:
‘We welcome the decision to extend the Project for a further year by the Scottish Government who have recognized the importance of this Project. Includem have first hand experience of the impact bereavement has on children and young people and this Project will play a part in developing a consistent nationwide approach to childhood bereavement.’