Families in Grief holds two or three groups a year, for young people aged between 5 – 12 years old and their families or carers. They are free to attend, and are open to all families living in North Devon and Torridge. Before each group starts FiG’s trained volunteers visit the children and their families or carers at home.
What happens at these groups?
The children explore their feelings through arts and crafts activities and are read stories connected to grief and loss. Here is a breakdown of how the group works:
Week 1 Beginnings: The children tell their story; before the person died, how they died, immediately after the death and how they are now. This activity is usually drawn, but can be written or acted out with puppets.
Week 2 Memories: The children and adults participate in a Hopi Indian Ceremony which involves bringing in an article belonging to the person who died, or a photograph of them. They then sit in a circle on the floor and everyone in turn talks about what they have brought in and what it means to them. The object is then passed around the circle in silence whilst everyone looks at it, and then it is placed in the centre of the circle. Also this week the children will start to make a memory box
Week 3 More Memories: The children talk about the memories they have of the person who has died and they make a memory jar or salt sculpture. The children usually carry on decorating their Memory boxes this week.
Week 4 Emotions: This week the children do activities to do with their emotions and feelings. They often draw around their bodies and draw onto the paper the place where they are feeling their emotions. They sometimes draw what an emotion feels like and talk about safe ways of expressing their feelings
Week 5 Emotions, rituals and anniversaries: This week the children may continue on the theme of emotions, making paper plate masks to show the feelings they are able to show and those that they feel that they have to hide. They may also draw a first aid kit to show the things that help them in certain circumstances. This week we also talk about ways to celebrate anniversaries and talk about the conclusion of the project next week.
Week 6 Endings: As this is the last week the children are given a little book in which there are addresses of useful websites and space where, if they would like, they can exchange names, addresses etc. They write messages on stars to hang on the willow pyramid in a ceremony which takes place in candlelight with all the families. We all have a celebration supper together and then conclude the project by creating a web to show the connections between everyone.
Where do they take place?
The groups are held in either Barnstaple or Bideford, and are run one evening a week for six weeks. We have a minimum of four or five families at each group.
How can I join this group?
If you are a bereaved family and would like support from Families in Grief by attending a group, please contact us via the following link:Contact Us