Our Child Bereavement Support service (known as Rowans Meerkat Service), offers specialist emotional support to children and young people who have a significant adult (such as a parent or grandparent), with a life-limiting illness or, who have been bereaved of an adult close to them. We work alongside families with children up to the age of 18.
Children have the capacity to cope well with loss providing they have appropriate support. However, it can be difficult for family members to provide this; the balance of wanting to protect children alongside knowing the ‘right’ thing to say can feel impossible at times. Even when family members encourage open conversations about what is happening, children might hold back due to worrying that asking questions will increase others’ distress. Sometimes, children simply can’t find the words to explain how they’re feeling.
Talking about illness and dying can feel frightening and uncertain for everyone.
There are a variety of ways Rowans Meerkat Service can support families through their child’s bereavement, depending on the child’s individual needs. We can offer guidance to parents/guardians, advice to schools and other agencies, and when appropriate, individual therapeutic work with children. Groups are available throughout the year for children who have been bereaved offering the opportunity for fun and for peer support.
Rowans Meerkat Service is able to accept referrals where a family is currently receiving or has previously received, care from Rowans Hospice.
If you would like to speak to someone from the Rowans Child Bereavement Service, please call: 023 9224 8025.
All children are different and their responses will vary depending on the individual child, their age and their experiences. It is important to know that children’s expression of grief is different to the way in which adults grieve.
Children may be upset, angry or could even appear uninterested; this does not mean they do not care but it can take time for children to understand and process what has happened. They may know they can speak to a parent or another trusted adult but finding the words can be difficult; children are more likely to demonstrate their emotions through their behaviour.
More information and guidance about how children grieve can be found in our ‘Small Book of Big Conversations’.
There are many ways in which you can support a child who is grieving:
Our ‘Small Book of Big Conversations’ offers guidance to parents/guardians supporting bereaved children through serious illness and into bereavement.
You can download a PDF copy of this booklet here:Download
Our children’s magazine, ‘Meerkat Mail’ includes updates about the Service and articles written by children who are keen to share their experiences of loss with others so that other readers know they are not alone.
You can download the most recent editions below.