Search

Vision to meet ‘unprecedented’ number of bereaved children turning to Nelson’s Journey

10:10 18 October 2014

Colin Lang, Nelson

Colin Lang, Nelson's Journey chief executive. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

One of Norfolk’s biggest charities, dedicated to supporting bereaved children, needs a major expansion to meet “unprecedented” demand for its services.

‘A godsend for us’

Nelson’s Journey was a “godsend” to one Norwich family left devastated by a family loss.

Julie Smith, 39, said her daughters Libby, 10, and Gemma, six, adored their doting grandmother, Ann Sadler from Lakenham.

But when she died suddenly of ovarian cancer last year, their lives were ripped apart.

“She was like a second mum to my girls, they were with her all the time. So when she died they were really hit hard”, Mrs Smith said.

But when the Smiths, from West Acre Drive in Old Catton, were introduced to the bereavement charity, the whole family’s grief became easier to cope with.

“We were introduced to Nelson’s Journey through the school. They showed the girl’s how to cope with their feelings and helped me and my husband Ady as well,” she said.

“Because I was so upset myself after losing my mum, I found it hard too.

“They were an absolute godsend. They stopped the girls from being scared and allowed all of us to be with other people who have experience the same as us.

“They showed the girls they are not alone and it’s not a bad thing to cry of be upset. I really don’t think we would be where we are without Nelson’s Journey.”

To get in touch with Nelson’s Journey email enquiries@nelsonsjourney.org.uk or call 01603 431788

Nelson’s Journey is considering opening two new sites in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn even before it has unveiled its main centre on the Norwich outskirts in November.

There was a 40pc increase in the number of children turning to the charity in the first six months of this year, compared to the same time in 2013.

That means a record 600 grieving 0 to 17-year-olds could have used Nelson’s Journey by the end of this year alone.

The Betts family from Bintree near Dereham and the Smiths from Old Catton are one of hundreds of families to have been supported by the bereavement charity.

Charity chief executive Colin Lang puts the dramatic increase down to the NHS no longer providing bereavement care for youngsters – meaning many of those who do not get support drop out of education, develop a mental health issue, have problems with alcohol and drugs or end up in the criminal justice system.

He said: “We have never seen numbers like this before, it’s unprecedented. They just keep going up and up. Now we are seeing these huge numbers, we really need to get some support out there.”

The majority of children referred to the charity are from the Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk areas of the county.

The potential new sites, which would not be owned by the charity like Smiles House in Little Plumstead, would allow bereavement workers to have a safe space to work with the children on a one-to-one basis.

MPs and regional health bosses met earlier this month to work out how to help fund the charity in the coming year.

Individual and business donations make up 61pc of Nelson’s Journey’s funding, with statutory money contributing just 15pc.

At the round table event held in Hethel, Norwich’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) pledged £22,000 but other authorities are yet to follow-suit.

Care minister and north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he favours closer ties between the NHS and the voluntary sector and said he would encourage the CCGs to support bereavement organisations more.

But Mr Lang said the government is being “short-sighted” in its approach to bereavement in Norfolk.

“A service should be provided by the government – we wouldn’t exist without the generosity of Norfolk people,” Mr Lang said.

“Bereavement has always been the second fiddle. If someone drops down dead there’s nothing for that family unless someone develops a mental health issue, then they will get some help.

“The government has got to realise there’s nothing in Norfolk at the moment. A child has got to develop a mental health issue before they get any help.

“It’s just not right that a child has to get to that stage before they get any support.”

Mr Lamb said criticising the government was “misplaced” as decisions about where cash is spent is made locally.

What are your views? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

Yesterday, 15:41
Boarderhoppa bus

A community travel service which provides a vital lifeline to people in rural locations in a large swathe of Norfolk is appealing for volunteer drivers.

Yesterday, 11:53
Sylvia Collier, senior grant officer with the Heritage Lottery Fund with David Case, chairman of the Diss Corn Hall Trust. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Work to improve the centre of Diss to make it a more enjoyable experience for visitors and residents is gathering pace as surveyors prepare to use hi-tech scanning equipment.

Yesterday, 09:07
Fundenhall church First World War exhibition. Picture Ian Spratt

A village church is hosting an exhibition which tells the story of the local men who fought in the First World War.

Yesterday, 08:31
The Catalina flying boat

One of the region’s biggest events is looking forward to welcome record-breaking crowds this weekend.

Most Read

Sunday, July 10, 2016
With a copy of The Mercury from 1991 is Swaffham Junior Academy teacher Rachael Weedon. Picture: Ian Burt

It was a year which marked the end of the Cold War and the Gulf War and featured the deaths of both Robert Maxwell and Freddie Mercury.

Read more
Saturday, July 9, 2016
The A1065 was closed for around six hours. Picture: Chris Bishop

Police are today investigating the horrific crash, which happened on the A1065 at Castle Acre, near Swaffham, yesterday.

Read more
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Breckland Council's offices in Dereham.

Members of the public are being urged to have their say on a plan which will influence where nearly 15,000 homes are built over the next 20 years.

Read more
Breckland Council
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Polly Grieff and her husband Eric.  Their house Old Manor, in Saham Toney, will be on Restoration Home - one year on.  Picture: Ian Burt

It was its down-at-heel aura that first attracted Polly Grieff to the crumbling Old Manor at Saham Toney.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 10°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up