Charity of the month: Stand-by-me
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Youngsters faced with the bewildering loss of a loved one can turn to a charity that aims to give light in the darkness
Losing someone special is hard to cope with at any age but for children and young people, the loss of someone close can be particularly difficult. At a time when adults around them are also grieving, they may have questions and concerns about what has happened or may simply feel worried about losing others in their lives. At what can be a confusing and emotional time, Stand-by-me Bereavement Support offers help when it is needed most.
An award-winning charity supporting bereaved children, young people and their families, as well as those dealing with serious illness in North Hertfordshire and Stevenage, it offers a friendly voice, advice and a community.
At the heart of the service is an innovative programme staffed by highly trained and experienced volunteers. Run over a number of weekly sessions, it gives children and young people the chance to explore their feelings and talk about their loss as well as to meet others who have had similar experiences.
Last year Stand-by-me launched a new project called Contact-me to give bereaved children additional support in schools. The project gives children the opportunity to nominate a trusted adult in school who will be there for them when they feel down and support them if things get difficult.
The charity has an online resource, stand-by-me.org.uk, designed with input from a group of young people who have experienced bereavement. It is packed with all the information and advice these individuals said would be most helpful to someone else dealing with the loss of a loved one.
There is also a telephone helpline – 07469 255163 – to support parents and guardians at this difficult time. The charity can offer advice to adults on how to handle sensitive conversations with their child and hopefully relieve some of the worry and stress that these discussions can cause.
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Stand-by-me relies on the support of the local community to help it reach bereaved children and young people in its catchment area. Every penny raised helps to run more programmes, fund the website, pay for the telephone helpline, train more volunteers and expand its service to meet a continually growing need.
For ways that individuals, groups and companies can help the charity, email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Services. There are seven CVS branches in the county, with hundreds of volunteering opportunities. Go to hertscvs.org.uk for more information.