A charity which helps bereaved children in Medway has stressed the importance of allowing grieving youngsters to express their feelings, following a BBC documentary starring Rio Ferdinand.
The programme, called being Mum and Dad aired on BBC One last night, and the footballer spoke about how he is still coming to terms with the death of his wife Rebecca and the effect it has had on his three children. She died of cancer in May 2015 aged 34.
Holding On Letting Go, based at the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester, supports children and young people aged six to 16 who are struggling to cope with grief.
The charity holds weekends where trained volunteers will listen to the children and help them develop coping strategies to move forward with their lives.
Caroline Ford, programme manager, said: “Appropriate and timely support is vital, to help the children to express their feelings by telling their story in a safe environment. Talking at this time is vital – that much is evident just from the trailer of the documentary.
“A lack of appropriate support can have long term, and in some cases, devastating consequences, as the child can disengage from school, drift into socially unacceptable behaviour, such as crime, or use alcohol or substance abuse as their way of coping.
“No one wants this to happen to anyone, so Holding On Letting Go is here to help grieving children to hold onto their precious memories and let go of the sadness.”
For Mother’s Day, the charity ran bereavement support sessions for children who have lost loved ones to suicide or in other traumatic circumstances. They have also planned a further nine for the coming year and hope to offer more. The charity relies on donations and fundraising to keep going.
Mrs Ford added: “We also rely heavily on our volunteers. We’re always looking for people who can help Holding On Letting Go, either by volunteering or by making a donation or fundraising for us.”