Supporting bereaved children & their families in Kent

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New service launched with Heart of Kent Hospice to support children facing terminal illness

Published by Caroline, 29 Jul 2022

We’ve teamed up with the Heart of Kent Hospice, to launch a new service to help children, young people and families who are facing a terminal illness.

Together, we are helping families across Kent by giving professional support and guidance to help children and young people through the challenges of having a family member diagnosed and living with a terminal illness.

The new service will support children and young people aged 5 – 18 years and their families.

The sessions will also help families to recognise that they are not alone and provide peer-to-peer support.

This early intervention and support will help families by giving them a selection of coping strategies to help build resilience for the journey that their children and young people will go through during challenging times.

The sessions are offered in a six-week programme, to include enjoyable activities which are all about helping to make memories and enjoy every precious moment together as a family.

Lyndsey Stukalov-Stone, Family Support Team Manager at Heart of Kent Hospice said: “These sessions are all about everyone making special memories and having fun together in a comfortable and safe environment. The groups also encourage and support families (including children) by helping them to have honest conversations about what they will be facing together in the future. We want everyone to feel supported and involved so that they have a clearer understanding of what is happening to their loved ones. At the end of the six weeks, families will have made a ‘family heirloom’ together that can be cherished.”

Treasured memories
The photo shows an example, created by 7-year-old Shaydon, who enjoyed finding special photos of his mum with the family and him. He was able to understand during his sessions, that his mummy had cancer and that the doctors and nurses had tried everything to make her better by sadly it was not possible. He would use the book at home with the family, getting them to write things about his mum and drawing too.
It became a treasured item to him and he loves showing the book to everyone and sharing stories and photos about his mum and the family, who have kindly given us their permission to share it.

Debbie McSwiney, our Clinical Lead for Children & Families, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for two organisations who are passionate about offering a first class service to children and families facing a bereavement to come together to offer a rounded approach to bereavement care.”

The activities will help all family members to feel prepared and cope with saying goodbye to loved ones. Most importantly, it’s about making the most of the time families have together and feeling that they are not alone.

Free to book
Family Support Groups will take place every other Wednesday at Heart of Kent Hospice (Preston Hall, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7PU) between 4pm – 6pm starting on 3 August 2022.
Snacks will also be served, pre-booked in advance.

To book or find out more, contact the HOKH Family Support Team by calling 01622 792200 ext 260 or emailing fst@hok.co.uk

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