Archie’s work in supporting bereaved children became visible to the outside world in 2019 when Grampian Child Bereavement Network (GCBN) officially joined forces with The Archie Foundation. The partnership between the two charities had, however, been running for many years prior. GCBN was founded in 2009 by a group of volunteers, all of them professionals working with children and young people. They recognised the need for tailored support for bereaved children and set about creating a network to provide it.
In the early days The Archie Foundation simply provided funding to support GCBN’s important work but as the relationship between the two organisations developed the opportunity for a more formal partnership was recognised and GCBN became part of the The Archie Foundation in 2019.
In 2021, after the charity’s rebranding, Grampian Child Bereavement Network became Archie’s Child Bereavement Service.
Our reach has grown considerably in recent years – in just the last two years we have doubled the number of children and families supported in the Grampian region and have grown our team to ensure we can provide the services they need and deserve.
In March 2022 we announced the expansion of our service into Tayside and Highlands. The first step will be recruiting and training Bereavement Coordinators to support this expansion with the aim of launching services later in the year.
We offer a wide range of services, which are carefully tailored to suit the individual needs of the child and their family. Every enquiry we receive is personally followed up by our highly experienced Bereavement Co-ordinator, Malcolm, who through an initial phone conversation assesses how best to support the child or young person. This can include providing specialist books to help a child understand what the death of a loved one means and to understand their emotions. For some families this might be all the support they need but others may access many more of the services on offer.
We recognise that every child is different and we believe that with appropriate support, information and guidance all children and young people will manage their grief.
Our team comprises a Bereavement Co-ordinator, who is the first point of contact for the majority of families we support, and two Bereavement Support Workers who are based at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and who provide immediate support for children when a family member passes away in any hospital in the Grampian region. These three members of staff work very closely with our volunteer responder team, who provide one-to-one support for children who have lost a loved one. We currently have over 40 volunteer responders working across the region.
We hope that in sharing information, tips and guidance we can provide some degree of instance comfort for parents and carers who are struggling to support a child when someone they love has died. Information is categorised by the age of the child but bear in mind that all children are different in how they process and manage their grief.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or support – [email protected] or 01224 554142.