Wathall's launch child bereavement counselling service

Published on: Tuesday, 25th October 2022
Support Erewash Sound
Sarah Legg

Family-owned Wathall’s, Derby’s longest established independent funeral directors, which has a branch in the Erewash borough, have expanded their unique Dandelions Bereavement Support service to help more local families come to terms with losing a loved one.

Having established a bereavement counselling service for adults last year, the professional help available has now been extended to children and young people aged eight and above.

The children and young people’s bereavement counselling service will be headed by qualified Psychotherapeutic Counsellor Sarah Legg who is an accredited member of the National Counselling Society.

She, and fellow Wathall’s counsellor Fay Bloor, meet with clients in a dedicated bereavement counselling room at the firm’s Allestree branch on Duffield Road.

Sarah Legg has many years’ experience of supporting children and young people who have experienced bereavement and said it was a privilege to be able to now provide that service through Wathall’s Dandelions Bereavement Support.

Every child and young person handle grief in different ways – just as adults do.  Supporting children does, however, require a different approach as they are often reluctant to voice their fears or show their emotions because they don’t really understand what has happened.

“I tend to start the counselling process with gentle activities to put the young person at their ease and then we start to talk about the practical questions that they have been reluctant to ask such as what happens after a cremation service.

“For many children, their feelings of grief at losing a loved one is compounded by fears that other family members may now die and what will happen to them if they do.

“It is therefore important children and young people of all ages are encouraged to open up about what they are thinking so that fears can be allayed and coping mechanisms put in place.

“Working with children and young people is my passion and I feel privileged to be part of the Wathall’s bereavement support team and have this opportunity to provide dedicated counselling which is very much needed in the local communities that we serve.”

Helen Wathall MBE is the fifth generation of her family to head up Wathall’s funeral directors and was instrumental in launching Dandelions Bereavement Support several years ago in response to feedback from families that they would value on-going help following the death of a loved one.

She said: “With bereavement counselling for adults firmly established, an increasing number of families were asking for support for their children and young people and we realised that there was a substantial gap between the demand and availability of this kind of professional support.

“Sarah’s compassion and her experience of working with children and young people at challenging times in their lives makes her the perfect person to head this important expansion of the counselling service – working alongside our adult counsellor and bereavement support coordinator Fay Bloor.”

Counselling joins the other award-winning Dandelions Bereavement Support services which are designed to support people at times when they need it.

The four-week Dandelions Grief Journey support and education programme is held at various times throughout the year free of charge.  It helps people better understand the bereavement process and how to cope with life moving forward.

Bespoke programmes can also be run for businesses, organisations and charities for their own staff and stakeholders.

Dandelions Bereavement Support groups meet regularly in Derby and Ashbourne.  They are free to attend and bring people together to share time and experiences with others on a similar path.  

Furthermore, Wathall’s has published a beautifully illustrated activity book for children and young people entitled ‘Missing Someone Special – working your way through loss’.

The book gently explains practical things such as what happens at both burial and cremation services as well as highlighting the importance of sharing emotions following a bereavement.

There is also space for children to write down their happy memories of the loved one they have lost and express their feelings through words and pictures.

The activity book costs £12.99 and is available to buy online or from Wathall’s branches including in Borrowash.

For more information about Dandelions Bereavement Support and the new counselling service, please call Fay Bloor on 01332 345268 or email fay.bloor @ wathalls.co.uk

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