Winston's Wish is the leading childhood bereavement charity and the largest provider of services to bereaved children, young people and their families in the UK.
Help for Heroes has provided funding since October 2010 to enable Winston’s Wish to offer a bereavement support programme for children and young people from military families across the UK affected by the death of a parent or sibling.
Fiona Talwar-Lomberg, CEO of Winston’s Wish said: 'It is a sad fact that many of our heroic servicemen and women who die whilst in service are parents, or have younger siblings. We are delighted that through funding from Help for Heroes, Winston’s Wish offers a programme specifically for bereaved military families.'
How the funding is being used
All bereavement is difficult for a child to manage. This funding allows a child or young person from a military family bereaved by conflict, accident, illness, suicide, murder or manslaughter to access additional support. The death of a loved one who dies while serving in the military can bring additional pressures and practical changes perhaps not experienced by other families.
Winston’s Wish offer advice through a national Helpline and publications. Central to their work is face-to-face support sessions with experienced practitioners, allowing the family to talk together and individually about their grief. This helps each member to explore their feelings and understand the effects of the bereavement. Funding is also allowing the development of a specialist trauma support service that will enable practitioners to support children affected by particularly traumatic bereavement.
As well as these individual and family meetings, Winston’s Wish offer therapeutic group sessions specifically for children, young people and parents or carers from military bereaved families. These are opportunities to meet others who have been bereaved through similar circumstances and can be particularly helpful for some families.
Funding also enables Winston’s Wish to offer a pre-bereavement service for military families. It can be helpful for parents or carers to have an opportunity to meet with a practitioner to discuss the best way of supporting their children when one of them, or a sibling within the family, has a terminal diagnosis and is not expected to live for more than 3 months.
In addition to supporting individual families directly, Winston’s Wish is also funded to deliver training relating to bereavement support to other organisations and service providers who work with military families.
How our funding is making a difference
Rachel’s husband David was killed whilst serving with the Army in Afghanistan, leaving three children Simon, Patrick and Jane.
The family has been through the bereavement services of Winston’s Wish. 'I found it heart-breaking to grieve for David and all that he had lost; grieve for our children and their future; and grieve for myself. I realised that the children (and I) needed outside help so that they could talk about their feelings.
'Winston’s Wish was there for us when we needed professional, caring, emotional support and has been invaluable to us.'
About Winston’s Wish
Winston’s Wish provides support for bereaved children and young people and their families. Whether the person was ill for some time or a death totally unexpected, their practitioners work closely with children and families, in a variety of creative ways, to create an atmosphere where they can share their thoughts and feelings and meet others.
Since 1992, their child-focused approach has supported families through a range of services including a national Helpline, group and individual work, publications and resources.
Each year over 24,000 children are bereaved of a parent
Over 500 children a year receive in-depth help from Winston’s Wish
Each year the Helpline supports around 3,500 families and professionals, benefiting an estimated 7,000 children.
To make contact with Winston’s Wish you can: