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Support service for bereaved children expands to Glasgow

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Richmond’s Hope has helped 3000 young people dealing with the death of a parent or sibling

A charity that helps children come to terms with the death of a loved one is expanding to Glasgow.

Richmond’s Hope was founded by Rev Liz Henderson in 2002 after 15 funerals in her Craigmillar community over the course of one year left 36 children without a parent or sibling.

The charity has since helped more than 3000 young people who were struggling to cope with bereavement.

Now, the service – which is open to people of any faith or none - has been launched in Glasgow to mark the start of Children’s Grief Awareness week.

We are seeing increasing numbers of children and young people struggling to come to terms with grief

Rev Henderson said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of children and young people struggling to come to terms with grief. For them, the death or a friend or relative can be very hard to understand.

“It’s incredible that one in 29 children in the UK has lost a parent or sibling. That means that in most schools, there is likely to be at least one child in each class who could need support.”

Alongside the launch of the new service, staff from the charity have filmed a training video to help NHS staff better understand the issues faced by bereaved children.

Rev Henderson added: “We are launching at the start of Children’s Grief Awareness week, as we’re confident once people know about us there will be a high demand. We want to make sure children across the city can access our support at this difficult time in their lives.”

The Child Bereavement Network estimates that 5% of children in Scotland will lose a parent by the time they reach the age of 16.

Trainee chef Chris McKellar was just seven years old when his father was killed in an accident at work.

Chris, now 18, said his mother Tracey tried her best to help him and his three brothers cope with what happened but after an outburst during a family holiday he was offered bereavement support at Richmond’s Hope.

“If I had had someone I could speak to, it might have helped and might have made it not all come out at once,” he said.

“I didn't want to say anything to my mum or any of my family in case I upset them. So having someone that wasn't related to me, or just someone to speak to would have been better than me having to keep it all bottled in."