Celebrating 10 years at HOLG

Ten years ago, Holding On Letting Go was a little different to what it is now – and Caroline Norman has seen it grow.
She’s just celebrated 10 years with us as our Programme Assistant, supporting our clinical leads with putting our support programmes together.

Before she came to HOLG, she was a legal secretary specialising in wills and probate so the move to a bereavement charity felt like a good fit, with experience in the area.

When she joined, there was just her and a programme manager – now, there are seven in the team, headed up by a clinical lead to design and deliver our bereavement care work.

Our most vital service is our monthly bereavement support weekends, which Caroline has seen grow.

She said: “Back in 2011, there were three bereavement support weekends each year – and now there are 16, plus many other day workshops and programmes for different areas of bereavement such as stillbirth, suicide and sudden death.
“Over the last two years, we have supported many children who have been bereaved through Covid.
“The one thing that unites all of the children is the feeling of not being the only one. To be bereaved as a child is rare, so not many children know someone else until they come to one of our weekends; and when they do, it all changes.
“They understand each other, know what they might be feeling and can identify – they make friends.
“Some of the children are very worried about coming on the weekends, but once they are here they really enjoy themselves and some even ask if they can come again!
“Parents are also worried for their children but they needn’t be – we see such a massive transformation in the children from the time they walk arrive on the Saturday morning to when they leave on the Sunday afternoon.
“It’s amazing and so wonderful because we know that these two days have made such a difference to them and their families.”

The bereavement weekends offer lots of fun activities – despite some children and families thinking that it will be very sad and emotional.
Music, craft, biscuit decorating and other fun activities allow the children to explore their feelings.

Caroline added: “From the moment I started here, I never wanted to work anywhere else. “The bereavement weekends are so wonderful and seeing the change in them makes every day worthwhile.”