Skip to main content

‘A sense of belonging’

“I felt there was a strong sense of belonging and unity within the group within a few hours of us meeting. Essentially we all knew why we were there but it took quite a few weeks to talk about and share specifics of who had died – which was actually refreshing because we got to be ourselves, have fun and not be defined by our grief.” Hayley

Kieran, aged 17, is one of nine young people – all of whom have experienced the death of a loved one – who recently completed a Saturday activity programme, courtesy of the amazing team at Skern Lodge outdoor activity centre.

Kieran has Down Syndrome and autism and took part in the programme with sister Hayley.

“I just want to thank you, the volunteers, instructors and all the young people,” says Hayley. “We both had such a great time and it helped us in our healing journey. I felt Kieran was really included and I could have left him to participate independently. However, for my own healing I wanted to stay. We will really miss our Saturday routine and everyone within the group.”

Over a two month period, the group took on and conquered a huge range of outdoor challenges (some quite daunting!) including an assault course, archery, tunnels, zip wire and problem solving.  While one week there was a more reflective activity when Kieran and the others planted trees in memory of their loved ones – Kieran planted a tree for his grandad while Hayley planted one for her late partner, Tom, who had helped care for Kieran since he was born and with whom he shared a strong bond.

The programme was a new step for FiG – based on feedback from bereaved young people who said they would prefer to connect with others in the same situation through outdoor activities and informal interaction. Thank you everyone at Skern Lodge for making this happen.

Tom's tree
Tom’s tree
Planting Tom's tree
Planting the tree
Share this: