Warwickshire parents who have felt the pain and anguish of losing a child will have specialist support going forward thanks to the efforts of a local charity.
Freddie’s Wish, which was founded by Charlotte Jolliffe after she lost her son in a tragic car accident in 2014, is funding the area’s only specialist parental bereavement practitioner.
The organisation has developed a partnership with Child Bereavement UK (CBUK) to provide a specialist for two days per month, giving parents and families the opportunity to get advice and support at a time when they need it most.
Boughton Leigh Children’s Centre and Long Lawford Children’s Centre have both donated rooms to host the service, which will be held on the first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month.
“When I lost Freddie, I desperately sought help from other people that knew what this intense emotional and physical pain felt like, but there was no specialist support locally,” explained Charlotte, who has won numerous awards for her fundraising efforts.
“You really don’t want to be searching for help at this time, so we have managed to raise nearly £7,000 to fund a specialist parental bereavement practitioner that is employed by CBUK.
“Any adult and family member living in Warwickshire can use the drop-in-service and, unlike some counselling services, you will not be refused access to return to the bereavement support after initial sessions. We understand that grief isn’t linear and, at certain times, it can feel unmanageable again - like at anniversaries for example.
“There is going to be a lot of interest in this new service and we are continuing to raise more money so we can keep it going and even extend it into other venues. If any businesses want to back our efforts, then that would be very gratefully received.”
Freddie’s Wish aims to educate healthcare professionals and wider society in the importance of offering proactive support to bereaved parents to help them through the darkest of times.
It is achieving this aim by signposting relatives towards support that will help their circumstances and through the addition of this specialist parental bereavement practitioner.
In four years, the charity has raised over £100,000, trained 450 adults in paediatric first-aid and delivered bereavement training to staff at 55 schools - the latter is vital when you consider that 92 per cent of children are bereaved in some form or another by the time they are 16 years old.
Charlotte said: “Bereavement doesn’t discriminate and that’s why we need to work harder to make sure people who are suffering get the right support quickly and without charge. It affects parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents and we can’t keep burying our heads in the sand.
“Our fundraising focus for this year is to get more corporates to name us as their charity of the year and to host our third Starlight Ball in October, which combines fantastic entertainment and great food with the atmospheric surroundings of the iconic Coombe Abbey.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about Freddie and what sort of little boy he would be. Thankfully, a little bit of him lives on with the charity and the difference we are making to the lives of parents in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
For further information, please visit www.freddieswish.org or follow @freddies_wish on twitter. To donate or get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org