For around five years now, Izzy PR has had Holding On Letting Go as a client and it’s a charity we love working with.
This weekend, Sarah went off to volunteer at one of their bereavement volunteer weekends.
The charity was set up more than 20 years ago, to support bereaved children to hold onto their precious memories and let go of the sad ones.
At that time, there was plenty of support for a bereaved adult but nothing for a bereaved child and so the charity was born.
From smaller beginnings, they now run monthly bereavement support weekends for children, and this weekend, Sarah joined them at Demelza House Children’s Hospice.
She joined the kitchen staff to help prepare drinks, snacks and the hot lunch (pizza, hot dogs or jacket potatoes – yum!) and help with cleaning and tidying in-between the various activities.
She said: “On Saturday morning, the children arrived looking very timid, cautious and a bit scared really, but by the time they left on Sunday, they were totally different. Some looked like a weight had been lifted, others were swapping numbers but all looked relaxed and less like the worried children from the morning before.
“Activities are all craft, games or music-based, with the younger ones downstairs and the older ones upstairs.
“I was amazed at the amount of resources available – paints, pens, pencils, craft packs, glitter (so much glitter!), and all sorts, to let them be as creative as they wanted to be.
“On Saturday, I spent most of my time talking to other volunteers about why they are involved with HOLG and I found out that many come to the charity having been a bereaved child themselves, who wished they had received support like that given by HOLG after their trauma, and now feel passionately about making sure others in their shoes receive it.
“I was lucky enough to be picked up by a volunteer driver too, who helps a few times a year to get children to and from the sessions; so even though he said he doesn’t do much, what he does do it absolutely vital.
“What I did notice, is that everyone is just so lovely! All the jobs are shared out, everyone just pitched in and did what they saw needed doing and it all ran like clockwork. I didn’t feel like the new girl at all – I felt like I had been there for years. It truly was wonderful.
“On Sunday, I was invited to join the older group’s music therapy session, held by musician and music therapist Iain, who very gently used instruments and music to help the young people to share their feelings.
“I was amazed to see them using sounds to show their emotions – the creativity absolutely blew me away!”
Before the leave, they create a memory box, which they take home to put special treasures in and can keep adding to in the future.
The weekend is a fantastic help to the children to work out how they feel, find some peace with it and look to the future.
On the Sunday, the parents are also at a group learning more about child bereavement, with others who are also going through it.
And that’s one of the most vital bits of the weekend – some of the children, prior to coming, don’t know any other bereaved child, which also means they have no peer support, because their friends can’t understand how they feel or relate to it.
At the HOLG weekends, they find out that they aren’t the only one and for some of the children, this in itself is a huge step forward.
Here at Izzy PR, we have HOLG as a client, but also donate hours for free, have hosted some fundraising, support their fundraising events and now, Sarah (and her mother-in-law!) will be regular volunteers at the bereavement support weekends.
If you are looking for some volunteering and have a few hours a year or more, they would love to hear from you and have so many roles and jobs to suit everyone; face to face and remote too.
If you’d like to find out more, here’s who to contact: