An exciting new initiative to create a network of Bereavement Champions in schools across North Devon and the Torridge area has just been launched by local childhood bereavement charity, Families in Grief (FiG).
A total of 71 primary, secondary and specialist schools across North Devon and the Torridge area have all signed up to the scheme so far.
Director of FiG Emma Marston says: “When a child experiences the death of a parent or relative, returning to school can be challenging for both the child and their teachers. School staff tell us that they are unsure about what to say or do – and so we set up the Bereavement Champion initiative to help give them the confidence, training, and knowledge to help bereaved children at school”
The training delivered by Families in Grief focuses on building school staff confidence when supporting a grieving child, along with useful guidance, practical strategies and resources designed to help children feel better following a death in their family or friendship group.
Emma Marston continues “I want to thank schools for supporting our idea and agreeing to have Bereavement Champions within their school communities. We believe that by having a designated member of staff as a trained Bereavement Champion will really make a difference to the lives of bereaved children at school.”
“Families in Grief will, of course, continue to be on hand to help the new Bereavement Champions should they need assistance. We have also set up a digital hub for the Bereavement Champions to download resources and to offer help to each other. It’s fantastic that 71 schools have already signed up to the initiative – our eventual aim is for every school across North Devon and the Torridge area to have their own designated Bereavement Champion”.
Feedback from the newly trained Bereavement Champions has been overwhelmingly positive.
- Before the training, 69% of participating school staff said they were not confident or only ‘slightly confident’ dealing with bereavement issues at school. On completion, 98% reported feeling ‘fairly’ or ‘very confident.’
- 88% of participants said they would ‘definitely’ be able to use what they had learnt on the training in their own school.
- Other comments included “The training gave some great ideas and approaches that I can use with other children suffering different loss in their lives” and “I have been given the confidence to approach a child rather than wait for them to ask me.”
Further ‘Bereavement Champion’ training is planned by Families in Grief for 2023. For more information please contact us here: [email protected]