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Cgaw2017childrenChildren's Grief Awareness Week (16-22 November 2017) was a chance for us to come together to show our support for bereaved children across the UK. Organisations across the UK raised awareness of the grieving children in their community, and those supporting them.

The theme for the Week was #YoureNotAlone – reminding bereaved children and their families that they are not on their own, and support is out there. Making contact with others who’ve experienced bereavement can help them feel less lonely, give them ideas for coping, and support them to face the future with hope.

We were delighted to team up with Grief Encounter to coordinate a whole week of activities. We were active on social media, helping people raise awareness in their area. People used the Week to show solidarity with children, young people and their families; raise awareness of their needs and how to help; and fundraise for their service.

We're part of the Life Matters taskforce which launched six recommendations to improve support for bereaved families during the Week.

Read on for more details of the Week, and check back for details of 2018.

How you can get involved

  • Download our social media cards to send a message to children, young people or widowed parents
  • Invite your supporters to join our social media campaign
  • Ask your MP to support the Week by signing Early Day Motion 547
  • Download the CGAWeek 2017 poster and tweet a picture of yourself with it
  • Arrange a meeting with your MP – here’s a guide
  • Download the logo for your publicity here
  • Run an awareness event, training session or young people's group on the theme of #YoureNotAlone
  • Tell us about anything you have planned

Visit www.childrensgriefawarenessweek.com to get more support and great ideas for how you can raise awareness

Social media campaign

We’re inviting bereaved children and young people, their families and supporters to join our campaign, getting the message out to others that ‘#YoureNotAlone’. During Children’s Grief Awareness Week, we’ll be asking people to post messages of support on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtags #YoureNotAlone and #ChildrensGriefAwareness. Messages could be:

  • Words of encouragement for bereaved children and young people – write them out and post a photo
  • Gifs
  • Short video clips: 60 seconds max

Suggested tweets

16-22 Nov is #ChildrensGriefAwareness Week: a chance to remind bereaved children & young people #YoureNotAlone http://bit.ly/1jAvSts

Show your support for UK #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek 16-22 Nov. Visit  http://bit.ly/2dAEktm and http://bit.ly/1jAvSt for ideas & resources

It's #ChildrensGriefAwarenessWeek 16-22 Nov: reminding bereaved children & young people & those caring for them #YoureNotAlone www.childrensgriefawarenessweek.com http://bit.ly/2dAEktm

Key messages

Bereaved children and young people - #YoureNotAlone

  • All too often, bereaved children feel very alone
  • But the numbers are higher than many people think. No data is collected nationally on the numbers, but we believe that 1 in 29 children and young people in our schools have been bereaved of a parent or sibling – that’s roughly one per class.
  • The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that over 100 children are bereaved of a mum or dad each day, and many more are bereaved of a brother, sister, grandparent or someone else important in their lives.
  • It helps for children to realise they are not alone. There are others out there like them, going through similar difficult times and learning to live with their loss.
  • In many areas, children can meet others through local child bereavement services. They can share stories, make a connection and help each other to cope.
  • We want that support to be available in every local area, wherever children live and however they have been bereaved
  • Some young people prefer to connect with others online – there are websites that can help them do that in a safe space.

Grieving parents - #YoureNotAlone

  • Parenting after widowhood or the death of a child can feel very lonely, too.
  • Peer support from organisations like WAY Widowed and Young and The Compassionate Friends can help parents meet others who ‘just get it’
  • Online and telephone support can help parents feel more connected.

Professionals supporting bereaved families - #YoureNotAlone

  • For teachers, nurses, GPs and other professionals, supporting bereaved children and their families can feel overwhelming. Professionals want to help but worry about saying the wrong thing or making things worse.
  • We’re not expecting everyone to become counsellors and support families on their own. We just want professionals to feel ready to acknowledge children’s grief and be kind to them day to day
  • We want professionals to feel part of a network of support for children – knowing when and how to help their families find extra help
  • Training, both face to face and online, can help professionals feel more confident about supporting families.

International Children's Grief Awareness Day

Cgad LogoThe Week kicks off with Children’s Grief Awareness Day on 16 November, a global day designed to help us all become more aware of the needs of grieving children — and of the benefits they obtain through the support of others.

Initiated by the Highmark Caring Place in 2008, the Day is now supported by organisations across the US through the National Alliance for Grieving Children: CBN’s equivalent body there, and is spreading across the world. The day is always held on the Thursday before Thanksgiving in the US.