Nelson’s Journey reveal new educational bereavement resource

@richardjarmy – www.richardjarmy.co.uk

Nelson’s Journey, Norfolk’s child bereavement support charity, have launched a new educational resource with support from Wymondham based toy manufacturer Orchard Toys.  The Smiles & Tears resource will help young people to better understand the impact a significant bereavement can have on their peers, and encourage children and young people to talk about their feelings and views regarding the subject of death, dying and bereavement.

The ‘Smiles and Tears’ resource is a team based discussion tool aimed at groups of young people aged 10-17. It is structured similarly to a traditional board game, with teams moving their pieces around a large vinyl matt and considering discussion and question cards relating to the journey of young people following the death of a special person. Teams reflect on how bereaved children and young people may feel and react in different situations whilst also educating them in how to support peers who may have had a similar experience.

The idea was generated by the Nelson’s Journey Youth Panel and young volunteers when they were discussing how Nelson’s Journey could develop new approaches to support Norfolk’s bereaved children and young people.  One young volunteer had been involved in an educational project taken into schools regarding the criminal justice system and felt that a similar approach could work around bereavement.    

Jack was 11yrs when his Mum died, reflecting on his time when at high school he said “I was new to my school and we were playing a game to get to know each other.  Another pupil said “If you have a Mum, stand-up” I stayed sitting down and my teacher said “Why haven’t you got up, you are cheating”, I explained that I don’t have a Mum and that she had died and he said “well you did have one, so stand up”.  I was really angry and my Dad ended up speaking to the school and the teacher apologised.  I think the new resource will help young people and school staff to better understand how they can support bereaved young people like me.”

Simon Wright, Chief Executive at Nelson’s Journey said “We need to break through the taboo of talking about death and grief, and support young people to feel comfortable in having those conversations. We’re grateful for the support of Orchard Toys and proud of our young volunteers and staff who have worked hard to create a resource that will encourage those conversations. We believe that this is the only resource of its kind in the UK”.

Ali Brown, Marketing Manager at Orchard Toys says “We are very proud to have been involved in developing this innovative resource with the Nelson’s Journey Youth Panel and young volunteers. It has been a pleasure to work with the Nelsons Journey team, on a resource that is very different in topic and style to our traditional educational games. Our design team have been very passionate about the project and have worked hard to create a resource that looks engaging and will encourage children and young people to participate.”

Schools and youth groups can register their interest in using the Smiles & Tears resource with young people by emailing enquiries@nelsonsjourney.org.uk or by calling 01603 431788