A Leamington based charity which supports children and young people through bereavement has been given a boost by a local service club.
Stuart and Jackie Potter, trustees of Guy’s Gift, were handed a cheque when they visited the Rotary Club of Warwick to talk about their work. They founded the charity in 2009 when they realised there was little or no provision to help youngsters in Warwickshire come to terms with their feelings after a family bereavement.
Problems often only surface at school when a child’s behaviour and attention suffer, and friends or teachers may realise that not all is well. Mental health issues are now recognised more due to the campaigning of Prince William and Harry and Rio Ferdinand drawing attention to the impact the loss of his wife had on all his family.
Initially referrals were less than 30 a year, but in 2018 the charity received more than 300 contacts across the county, with about 60 from Warwick District. Guys Gift has a team of four, as well as 25 volunteers, one being a former client now helping others. The team also offers advice and support to parents, carers and professional, along with training and raising community awareness.
Support is tailored to individual needs and may include group support, one to one support, counselling, books, or craft activities enabling children to explore their issues. Group sessions bring children together and can help to reduce the isolation of feeling they are the only one to have experienced loss or separation. Parents are also brought together with similar results.