Kent Charity Profile: Holding On Letting Go
Losing someone is never easy, but for children it can be impossible to understand. Holding On Letting Go helps children deal with their grief, and enables them to move forward. We spoke to the charity about their aims.
What is it that Holding On Letting Go does?
Holding On Letting Go (HOLG) provides bereavement support to children, young people and their families within Kent who have experienced the death of someone close to them. This may be a parent, sibling, grandparent or someone else who has been a significant influence in their lives. We invite the children to attend a non-residential weekend, where they have the opportunity to talk about what has happened to them. We help them to find ways of managing difficult feelings and emotions, and build on the memories that they have of the person enabling them to hold on to the good memories and let go of the more difficult ones. We also run specific weekends for children who have been bereaved through suicide or other traumatic deaths to enable them to explore some of the complex issues surrounding these circumstances.
What makes the work that Holding On Letting Go does so important?
The work is very important because the possible consequences of unresolved issues with grieving can last into adulthood. Many of the children we meet find it difficult to talk at home about the person who has died because they are afraid of upsetting other family members or getting upset themselves. HOLG gives them a safe space where they can feel free to speak and to meet other young people who understand their experience. By running a group for parents and carers alongside the children and young people’s groups, we can encourage communication within the family and promote strategies for supporting children in their grief.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
HOLG was started in 1998, so we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. The charity was formed by a group of professionals who realised that, while there was good provision in the county for adults, grieving children did not have access to bereavement support. The charity grew steadily in the early years, but over the past five years there has been a significant increase in the number of weekends we are able to provide. There are ten bereavement support weekends planned for 2018, two will be held in Thanet, one in West Kent and the others in Sittingbourne. At least one of these weekends will be specifically targeted at children who have been bereaved through suicide or other traumatic death. HOLG is very grateful for the support of BBC Children In Need, National Express and Ward and Partners, amongst others, whose grants have enabled us to extend our services.
How can our readers who wish to help become volunteers?
HOLG relies heavily on its volunteers to be able to continue to provide and develop our work. The volunteers who work alongside children and young people on our weekends come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are professionals who work with children, and some are adults who attended one of our weekends as a child. We are always looking for volunteers to support our work, providing one-to-one support to a child on a weekend, helping with catering or driving duties or helping out with fundraising. Anyone wanting to join HOLG as a volunteer can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or call us on 03445 611511.
What does the future hold for HOLG?
We are planning a series of fundraising events to celebrate our 20th anniversary, which will be widely advertised and which we’re excited about. We are also planning to increase the range of services provided by HOLG to ensure that we are reaching and supporting as many bereaved children as possible.
Our first priority is to extend the parent/carer group sessions, so that they match the children’s sessions. This will give the opportunity for the parents to participate in more experiential work, enabling them to explore their own feelings around bereavement. We are also looking to build greater links with schools across the county, to provide advice and information on managing bereavement within the school setting, and to encourage appropriate and timely referrals to HOLG.
Holding On Letting Go, Wisdom Hospice, High Bank, Rochester ME1 2NU
03445 611 511