PCC Supports Youth Bereavement Education Project
“Losing people close to me made me feel a huge loss of control of everything around me. One day I can be perfectly fine and there are others when I feel overwhelmed.”
Sameera aged 16, lost her mum to cancer when she was just 12 years old, her father then sadly passed away a year later. She is one of six Youth Ambassadors who made short films on coping with childhood bereavement, which were recently shown and celebrated at a public film screening in Letchworth Garden City.
The Youth Ambassador programme, set up and run by bereavement charity –Stand By Me, received a £5,000 grant from Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner as part of the national #iwill programme managed locally by Hertfordshire Community Foundation. This funding supported the training of the young ambassadors in skills that they can use to reach out to their peers, professionals, potential service users and funders about the effects of childhood bereavement.
David Lloyd said; “This project fits brilliantly with the purpose of the grant, which is targeted specifically to help reach a range of young people and encourage them to get involved in social activities to make a positive difference to their communities.
“Sadly, it is estimated that over 4,000 young people in the current school age population in Hertfordshire have been bereaved by a parent or a sibling at some point in their childhood.* In some cases - bereaved young people are more likely to engage in negative coping strategies such as self-harm, substance abuse and anti-social behaviour.
“It is therefore vital that the correct support like that provided by Stand By Me exists in our communities to give these young people the tools to grieve properly and openly.”
Sandra Blacker, Clinical Lead Trustee at Stand By Me said: “We are incredibly grateful for the Police and Crime Commissioner’s support through which enabled us to develop this programme and continue to work with these remarkable young people on their journey to becoming Young Ambassadors.
“The self-belief, confidence and skills they have acquired whilst working on the project has been immense and is evident their own video stories of bereavement.
“It wasn't too long ago when these young people first attended Stand-by-by with many worries about life and death, a feeling of isolation and often finding it hard to talk, smile or even give eye contact. Now they want to help make changes for others whilst managing their own grief and impart hope to other bereaved children and families at a time when it can feel like all hope is lost.”
Helen Gray, Director at Hertfordshire Community Foundation said “We were very grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner whose support of the #iwill programme last year enabled us to make twice as many grants to great youth social action projects like this one. We would love to hear from more groups with good social action ideas this year including volunteering, campaigning and fundraising which help to make a positive difference to their communities.’’