In their own words

The greatest satisfaction we at the Centre have, is when we can see that the space and support we provide has made a difference to a child or young person. And that in turn means a healthier, happier home for that child.

This is Tom’s Story

Tom attended the Children’s Grief Centre when he was six years old, following his father’s death. In school, although his grades remained good, he had become withdrawn and was aggressive towards his peers. At home he had become uncooperative.

In the first session, Tom’s Support Worker asked him why he though his mum had brought him to the Centre. He seemed nervous and said “To talk about what is going on in my head.” One of the exercises in the workbook used by the volunteer asked Tom to “Draw a picture of how it hurts when someone you love goes away.” Tom drew a picture of a heart and shared “I feel the hurt in my heart and what hurt most is that Dad died.” When asked what he was feeling he replied “I am heart-breaking”.

He wrote on the picture of the heart that he was also feeling “sad, extremed, upset, angry, shocked, patience, terrible, not alive, anxious and unhappy”. He explained each of the feelings, describing “sad” as “Do you know how you feel happy when you are alive and not sad? I miss Dad, he was good to me. I feel not alive when I miss Dad. When I’m sad I am not alive.”  He went on to explain “extremed” by extending his arms and saying “I felt extremed because I felt shocked and upset. I feel shocked Dad died so suddenly and so young. My Dad was only forty-two. I feel terrible myself.

At the end of each session, Tom shared his feelings. He said “I am happy. It am finding it helpful  coming in here. You are helping me to understand what happened. I learn what is going on. I sort things out. I am able to get my words out.”

At the last session, the Support Worker asked Tom to complete an evaluation sheet. In it he said that what he had found most helpful was “Talking about the person. I got used to it and it helped me to talk about it with my family.”

When asked what he liked most about coming to the Centre, he said “I liked writing about my Dad. Helen helped me by saying it was OK to cry.”

Tom was asked if the sessions had made any difference in his life, and if so – could he describe the differences? He answered “The sessions made a difference to me. I am not as worried as I used to be. Thank you for helping me.”

“The most powerful validation of the work was when Tom said “I am able to get my words out.”


This is Mary’s Story

Mary was 4 years old when her parents separated and she attended the Children’s Grief Centre at age 17. In her first session she shared that she had felt sad since she was 7 years old and had “struggled with her feelings since then”.

Mary talked about the difficulties she experienced when parent-teacher meetings were held at school. When asking her mother to attend, her mother would reply “is he coming?” If she asked her Dad to attend, he would ask “is she coming?” She recalled in detail her parents’ passing comments about each other which hurt her deeply – even up to the present time. Her biggest worry was that “the nasty comments will never stop”. She explained “anything said to me in the last 7 years is still with me and still upsets me. I feel trapped. I can’t leave. I can’t get away from it. I feel very tense.”

“The sessions have made a huge difference in my life. Being able to talk freely and openly in a safe environment without judgement. Having the power to choose the time and date of the appointments. Being able to talk to someone completely neutral and so understanding. After the Support Worker met my parents, both were able to form an amicable relationship after years of a very strained one.”

What our parents have to say....

Over the years, this is what PARENTS have said about the Centre:

"Very friendly staff, always available when needed, great service for kids as had no other place to go - flexible with appointments and times that suited us."

“The service provided my son with a safe and reassuring space to express his thoughts, feelings and emotions in an age appropriate manner, to a professional and understanding person who helped to comfort him and afford him a better insight of events and experiences he had endured as a result of domestic upheaval.”

“I found the whole atmosphere very calming and comforting. (Name) felt that she had plenty of space to talk openly and let [Support Worker] into her confidence easily. It was a God send. There was nothing I could find that wasn't helpful about the service. Very well organised. A pleasure to go in there on a morning, calming and peaceful. Staff all wonderful and so kind and helpful. The support that (Name) got from [Support Worker] has made her so much more confident and I believe helped her to deal with her father's death.”

“It gave (Name) a chance to talk to someone neutral and be under no pressure telling them how she feels.”

“(Name) has come more out of her shell and seems to have become a lot happier in herself in the last few months. It's hard to explain but I can see the sad look that was always seemingly on her face has vanished.”

What our youngsters have to say....

This is what some of the YOUNGSTERS with whom we have worked, have had to say…

"I got the confidence to stand up for myself and speak to people when I have a problem."

“What I most liked was that I could come here and express myself and share my own opinion. It helped get through and understand all my feelings and problems in life.”

“What I found most helpful was the way my life is normal again.”

“It made me feel like I was taking away some of the weight on my chest by talking.”

“I was able to say what I wanted without being afraid of making the people that I love upset.”

“Knowing that it wasn’t my fault that Dad went away.”