Rowans Meerkat Service provides specialist support to children and young people up to 18 years old, and their families, who have a significant adult (such as a parent or grandparent) with a life-limiting illness or who are bereaved.
Children have the capacity to cope well with loss, providing they have the right support. However, sometimes it can be difficult for family members to provide this. It can be really hard to manage the balance of wanting to protect children, whilst also keeping them informed about what’s happening.
Who can refer a child to Rowans Meerkat Service?
Professionals known to you and your family can make a referral to Rowans Meerkat Service. For a referral to be considered, there has to be current support being provided to your family by Rowans Hospice. This could be accessing any of our hospice services such as Day Care, in-patient care or support through our Clinical Psychology Team. Alternatively, one of our Community Nurse Specialists (Macmillan Nurse) may be visiting your family at home.
If the bereavement happened some time ago and you no longer have any involvement with the Hospice but you are worried about how your child is managing in bereavement, we would invite you to contact our service.
Please read our leaflet to understand What to Expect after your child has been referred to Rowans Meerkat Service.
There are a variety of ways we can support families, depending on each child’s individual needs. This includes guidance to parents/guardians, advice to schools and other agencies, and when appropriate, individual support with children. We also facilitate groups throughout the year for children who have been bereaved.
Individual support with a child involves working at their pace, ensuring our sessions are always child-centred. We know that talking to someone new can be tough, so we focus on building a relationship with each child and offering them a safe space to explore what is happening within their family and how they are managing. Arts, crafts and games often feature in our sessions!
Bereavement can be a very lonely experience for many children. Our magazine, ‘Meerkat Mail’ is produced twice a year and offers the opportunity for children to share their stories of loss, so children reading them know they are not alone. If you’re a child and have a story you would like to share, please call us on 023 9224 8025.
Talking About It
Our ‘Small Book of Big Conversations’ offers guidance to parents/guardians supporting children through serious illness and into bereavement. You can download a PDF copy of this booklet here:
If you or your child would like further information about Rowans Meerkat Service, please
call us on 023 9224 8025