A PIONEERING child bereavement charity has announced plans to extend its support work across Scotland.
Edinburgh-based Richmond’s Hope, which was founded 11 years ago at a church in one of the city’s most deprived areas, uses therapeutic play and specialist grief tools to help youngsters cope with losing someone close to them.
Now the faith-based group is set to launch a new branch in Glasgow, with hope that services can be extended to other areas in future.
The pilot project is being run in partnership with the charity Faith in Community (Scotland) and funding from the Scottish Government.
The announcement came as the Earl and Countess of Wessex visited the charity during a trip to the capital.
Liz Henderson, minister of Richmond Craigmillar Church and founder of the charity, said: “Richmond’s Hope has been widely recognised in Edinburgh and the Lothian’s for the quality of service it provides to bereaved children and young people.
“Over the last 11 years we‘ve often been asked why there are not more services like ours in other parts of Scotland.
“Now we will be piloting a way of doing just that in Glasgow. We are all very excited about this new development.”
Faith in Community (Scotland) Convener, Sandra Carter said the group is delighted to be involved in the project.
She said: “One-to-one support and innovative therapeutic play methods have resulted in positive outcomes, helping children and young people who have experienced significant bereavements manage their grief.”
Nursery support worker Jack, now 18, has been linked with Richmond’s Hope for more than a decade. Her mother died when she was just five years old and she went to live with her grandparents.
“Feeling very confused and scared about what had happened, I was referred to Richmond’s Hope two years later, at age seven,” she said.
“Having space with my support worker allowed me to do activities to remember my mum and help my understanding.
“When I was 11 I felt I needed some more support. I had gotten older and was finding it hard to cope.
“So I returned to do work on my feelings and my understanding of how my mum had died. This helped me to express my emotions more and to manage anniversaries and birthdays better.”
At 15 she attended the teen group as a young volunteer, which helped her see that other people had gone through similar situations.
“Even though I am older now, I always know that I’ve got someone to talk to at Richmond’s Hope. Without them I don’t know where I’d be, if I’d be able to cope or go to my mum’s grave to take flowers up.
“They have helped me to remember the best memories and good times, cope with my feelings and feel positive about my future.”