Check out the courses we offer
Knowledge Base » Safeguarding » Resources and Organisations Dedicated to Supporting Child Bereavement

Resources and Organisations Dedicated to Supporting Child Bereavement

Bereavement and grief can be one of the most painful times in life. It can bring up lots of different, complicated emotions, and these feelings may also be confusing at times. Bereavement affects everyone in different ways and there is no time limit on grief, or how someone should feel after a particular length of time. 

People are often at a loss as to know what to say or do to help someone who has suffered a bereavement, as death and loss can be difficult to talk about. These difficulties are often heightened when the bereavement is being experienced by a child. Children, like adults, will grieve in different ways and their responses to a bereavement will depend on their age, their understanding of the situation and their relationship with the person who has died. 

By becoming better informed about how bereavement can affect children of all ages, and about the range of support that may be required to help them to better deal with, process and cope with the emotional challenges associated with bereavement and grief, we can all be in a better position to provide the most appropriate support that a child may need.

In this article we look at how child bereavement and grief can impact children, explore the types of support that can help them and also the resources and help available to others who are providing this support.

Understanding Child Bereavement

Bereavement is often much more a part of childhood than commonly thought. The loss of a grandparent is often a child’s first experience of death and bereavement. However, every 20 minutes a child in the UK loses a parent; that is around 127 newly bereaved children every day. By the age of 16 years, around 1 in 20 (4.7%) young people will have experienced the death of one or both of their parents. 

The Childhood Bereavement Network has identified that children living in disadvantaged areas are more likely to be bereaved, as mortality rates vary by social class and geography and are higher in these areas. Also, they have stated that some groups of children may be more likely to experience particular kinds of bereavement, for example mortality rates among disabled young people with complex health needs are higher than among the general population, so young people attending special schools are probably more likely to be bereaved of a friend than their peers in mainstream schools. 

The increase in knife crime on the streets of the UK has inevitably brought an increase in young people’s deaths, leaving behind not only bereaved, grieving friends and families, but also bereaved, grieving communities. In the 12 months to March 2022, 78 young people aged under 25 years were murdered with a knife or sharp object and 10 were aged under 16 years. Knife crime has surged by 5% in the past year (2023), according to the latest release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), marking a concerning rise in violence across England and Wales.

Losing someone or something that we love and feel close to is extremely difficult and painful for anyone, but can be particularly challenging for a child. However, every child and young person will react to, feel and express this loss differently. As the child or young person mourns and adjusts to the loss, they may experience a range of emotions and physical reactions including, but not limited to:

  • Anger
  • Changes in appetite
  • Crying
  • Despair
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Disbelief
  • Emotional pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Numbness
  • Sadness
  • Shock
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Worry

Children often process and display complex emotions very differently from adults. With some children you might not even realise that they are grieving. Younger children may not understand the concept of death and its permanence; they may often miss a loved one in small bursts and may be sad for a few minutes every now and again. They may not fully realise what the loss will really mean to their life. Children often seem fine one moment, only to become very upset the next, because their brains don’t seem to be able to cope with the sadness for long periods of time.

A child’s understanding of death and loss will depend on many things, including their age and their stage of development. Even children from the same family or of the same age range may react very differently to a death, so it is important to recognise and understand the individual child’s feelings and needs in order to provide them with the appropriate support.

Resources and organisations supporting

The Importance of Support

Bereavement is a particularly vulnerable time, especially for children and young people; it can have a traumatic effect on a person’s life, and grief is the acute pain that accompanies the loss. Grief can have a long-lasting and traumatic impact on children and young people, although the grieving process differs from person to person. For some, it might be revisited throughout their lives, particularly at key times, for example, starting a new school, going to university, starting a job, getting married or having their own children. This is why it is important to reassure children and young people that it is okay for them to get on with their lives when they are ready to, and that they should not feel any guilt about doing things that make them happy and help them to cope.

A child or young person’s reactions to a death will depend on a number of factors, such as how close they were to the person who has died and how involved that individual was in their life, whether the death was sudden or traumatic, and how the other members of the family are dealing with their grief. Adults sometimes try to protect children from the pain of knowing what has happened, but this can lead to distress and confusion later, so it is best to be as open and honest as possible from the start. There are various organisations which can provide advice and resources to help you provide early support for a bereaved child or young person so that they can process and begin to deal with what has happened rather than to internalise their feelings. 

Bereavement in childhood has been shown to be a risk factor for children and young people’s development and has been shown to link to:

  • Higher levels of anxiety and depression into adulthood
  • An increase in physical health complaints
  • An increase in risk-taking behaviours
  • An increase in youth offending
  • Increased risk of school exclusion
  • Lower academic attainment
  • Lower aspirations for continued learning

Children and young people will have many experiences of loss and separation as part of their normal development, but how a child or young person grieves and how they are supported, not only in the family but also at school, can be vital to their immediate and long-term future.

National and International Organisations

Winston’s Wish is a national charity that helps children, teenagers and young adults, up to the age of 25, to find their feet when their worlds are turned upside down by grief. They offer a bereavement service by way of advice, guidance and bereavement support to children, young people and families before and after the death of a parent, sibling or other important person. They also provide information and resources for professionals and schools. During 2022/23, Winston’s Wish supported 62,484 children and young people, with 1,595 children and young people supported over live chat, and 12,514 children and young people supported over their ASK email Their freephone helpline 08088 020 021 is available between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, to speak to grieving young people, parents, teachers and anyone who is supporting a grieving child. They also offer support groups for young people aged 7-25 years, and for parents and carers. Their support resources include advice on topics such as, but not limited to:

Barnardo’s is a charity operating in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They work with children and young people who are dealing with loss, bereavement and grief. They also provide therapeutic support to children who have been bereaved through suicide or traumatically. Their Childline 24-hour support service can be contacted on 0800 11 11. They provide an advice line support to parents/carers of children and young people up to the age of 18 years who have been bereaved. To contact your nearest regional head office find regional contact details here. Their bereavement resources include:

Hope Again is the youth website of Cruse Bereavement Support. It is a safe place where young people can learn from other young people how to cope with grief and feel less alone. Cruse is a national charity within the UK that provides support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone close to them dies. Hope Again has been created for young people, by young people. They offer support, advice and a type of signposting service, solely online, to children and young people aged 12 to 25 years who have lost a loved one(s). Their freephone helpline is available on 0808 808 1677.

Grief Encounter is a UK charity that provides a variety of bereavement support services for children and young people, from one-to-one counselling to family days, from the helpline to training courses. Their freephone “grieftalk” helpline 0808 802 0111 is available Monday-Friday 9am-9pm. Over 4,000 children and young people received support from Grief Encounter’s specialist bereavement therapists after the death of someone close last year (2022/2023) and they received over 9,400 contacts to their free, confidential helpline, grieftalk. Grief Encounter work closely with schools nationwide to ensure all students have someone to turn to following bereavement. Schools can contact them for advice, guidance and information concerning how best to support their students and staff can refer students to them for free bereavement support and counselling using the refer a child or young person form.

The Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) is the hub for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families across the UK. CBN is hosted by the National Children’s Bureau, which offers organisational support to the Network. They work collaboratively across the childhood bereavement sector. They actively campaign to improve provision for bereaved families around three key areas: 

  • Unmarried cohabiting partners and bereavement benefits
  • Changes to bereavement benefits from April 2017
  • The rising costs of funerals and funeral poverty

CBN provide access to a variety of bereavement resources to support specific topics, including resources for families, and major incidents resources. CBN also provide a Growing in Grief Awareness programme which is a whole-school framework, free to primary and secondary, special and mainstream schools across the UK. The programme aims to help schools plan ahead to support pupils facing or following the death of someone important in their lives, and to prepare pupils to manage loss and bereavement in their lives.

Support after Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM) offers understanding and support to families and friends who have been bereaved as a result of murder or manslaughter, through the mutual support of others who have suffered a similar tragedy. Their unique support services have been designed by the bereaved for the bereaved to meet a person’s emotional support needs. All volunteers receive bespoke training and have been bereaved through homicide themselves. They have a unique understanding of what it is like to be traumatically bereaved. As a national charity their support services cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and services include one-to-one support or group support through their pop-up cafes, empowerment weekends and online forums. To contact the helpline, telephone 0121 472 2912 or email

Sibling Support is the only charity in the UK dedicated specifically to supporting bereaved siblings. Sibling Support occasionally holds group support sessions, and can provide talks to schools, community groups etc. They provide a variety of resources in their free resource store including:

Children of Jannah provides support for Muslim families who have been bereaved following the death of a baby or child, and includes an E-book My Child’s Grief Journey to support a child through the grieving process after the death of a sibling. 

The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service (JBCS) provides counselling to anyone in the Jewish community, including children and young people. JBCS also supports schools and youth groups with bereavement issues. They can be contacted by telephone on 020 8951 3881 or by email

The UK Trauma Council provides information and guidance for school staff and practitioners supporting children and young people who have been traumatically bereaved, such as those affected by war, violent crime, suicide etc. 

Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK is aligned with International Children’s Grief Awareness Day, which is always the Thursday before Thanksgiving in the United States – the third Thursday in November. 

Local and Community-Based Support

Support for bereavement has always sat in the heart of communities, and local and community-based support networks for grieving children and young people are often able to provide face-to-face, personalised and peer group support. This can be important for a bereaved child or young person to meet with people of their own age who have experienced similar events and who can share their own lived experiences.

Balloons is a charity supporting bereaved children and young people across Exeter, East and Mid Devon. They are a small, local charity offering a range of support to children and young people aged 5-25 when someone significant in their life dies or is about to die. Their mission is “To support bereaved children and young people in our area when someone significant in their lives dies. To work alongside their families and the professionals who care for them to further enhance the support they receive”. In 2023 they:

  • Responded to 487 calls from families, schools and other professionals
  • Supported 133 children and young people by delivering 524 one-to-one grief support sessions
  • Delivered support in over 60 local schools and colleges
  • Sent out 217 care packages to bereaved children and young people

SeeSaw provides support for children, young people and their families in Oxfordshire when they have been bereaved or when somebody close to them is terminally ill. SeeSaw offers support to families after a parent or carer has died, or after the death of a sibling. Families can self-refer, and they accept self-referrals from older young people up to the age of 18 years. There is no time limit on referrals, and contact can be made at any point following a death. Each year SeeSaw provides support for over 500 bereaved children. They work directly with children and young people and provide advice to families on how to support their child themselves, either in person, by phone 01865 744768, or online They also offer support to schools and professionals working with bereaved children and provide online resources that are accessible to all. They have recently published a new booklet written for young people, providing information, advice and activities to support them when faced with the death of someone close to them. You can download the book for free from

Jigsaw (South East) provides information, advice and guidance to help support bereaved children and young people and those facing the death of a loved one. They support families across Surrey, parts of West Sussex, Kent and surrounding areas. Their dedicated helpline 01342 313895 is staffed between 9.30am and 12.30pm on weekdays. Alternatively, you can email them at, and self-referrals can be made online here. Jigsaw (South East) offers:

  • Early grief support and reassurance to families around the loss of a loved one, by telephone or video link
  • Guidance, advice and training for schools to ensure that children are well supported within the school setting
  • Information evenings for families and professionals
  • Information and advice around funerals
  • Signposting to other agencies and organisations that will also be able to support you
  • A programme of social activities for children and families
  • For children and families requiring further support they run a programme of grief support groups

Rowans Hospice based in Hampshire is a local charity providing end-of-life care. They offer a Child Bereavement Support service known as Rowans Meerkat Service, which provides specialist emotional support to children and young people who have a significant adult, such as a parent or grandparent, with a life-limiting illness or who have been bereaved of an adult close to them. They work alongside families with children up to the age of 18. They also offer guidance to parents/guardians, advice to schools and other agencies, and, when appropriate, individual therapeutic work with children locally. If you would like to speak to someone from the Rowans Child Bereavement Service, please call 023 9224 8025.

Bolton Lads and Girls Club (BLGC) is a charity based in Bolton, Lancashire. They run Bolton Bereavement Service, a listening support service for children and young people who have experienced a death or loss and are struggling to cope with their emotions surrounding their grief. Advice and signposting can be given to young people, families, schools and other professionals to aid the conversation around bereavement. The service is for young people aged 8-18, who live in Bolton and have experienced bereavement and would benefit from extra support. You can make a referral to the Bolton Bereavement Service via their website.

You can complete the referral form and return it to .

The Children’s Bereavement Centre in Nottingham accepts local referrals from professionals and families for children aged between 3 and 18 years and their parents/carers affected by the death or terminal illness that has a prognosis of a year or less for survival, of someone important to them. One-to-one, short-term interventions are provided for children, young people and their parents or carers who are suffering trauma due to the death or terminal illness of a relative or close friend. Services are delivered at venues throughout Nottinghamshire. They also offer Play Therapy for children aged 3-12 years, where each child receives an average of 12 free weekly sessions where they will receive emotional support and learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. They also offer bereavement support workshops for teachers to enable them to better support pupils following the loss of someone close and provide advice, guidance and practical support to schools following the death of a pupil or school staff member. To contact the Children’s Bereavement Centre please call on 01636 551739 or email here.

Sandy Bear is a registered charity providing a service to all children and young people up to 18 years who have suffered, or who are likely to suffer, a bereavement and live in Pembrokeshire, Wales. They hold groups for teenagers as well as for children and their parents or carers to encourage the sharing of experiences with others in similar circumstances. They offer tailored advice and support to meet each family’s needs on an individual basis, which includes face-to-face meetings and regular telephone access and also provide a range of resources to support children and young people when someone important in their lives has died. 

These are just a small sample of the amazing local and community organisations that are providing a range of support services to bereaved children and their families, and also to teachers and schools who may need to support bereaved pupils. If organisations in your own local area have not been highlighted, the Childhood Bereavement Network has collated a list of their members and provides an interactive UK map so that you can find (by entering your town into the search bar) details of their member organisations that support bereaved children and young people.

supporting child bereavement

Online Resources and Helplines

Many people, particularly young people, often prefer to discuss their feelings about bereavement and grief with someone that they do not know and who doesn’t know them. It can give them the opportunity to really open up about how they are feeling without worrying that they may be being judged, or without feeling guilty that they are offloading their emotions onto others who may also be grieving. The anonymity that online support and helplines provide can help a young person to explore their emotions with the assistance of an experienced support worker. Here is a selection of the many online resources and helplines available to children and young people who have been bereaved, and many can also provide assistance to the parents or family of the child or to the teachers and school that the bereaved child attends.

Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Their mission is “To make sure all young people can get the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.” They provide help and support for young people coping with bereavement and grief, and have a number of online resources for both young people and parents/carers on dealing with grief and loss. They also offer a Parents Webchat service open 9:30am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday.

Kooth provides free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling for young people. 

ELSA Support provides bereavement resources for parents and school staff including:

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) provides a number of bereavement-related online resources.

Childline, a service provided by NSPCC, offers an online message page, Ask Sam letter, where children can write about their feelings, questions, concerns etc. about their bereavement and receive a personalised response. 

The Good Grief Trust is an online resource run by the bereaved for the bereaved where you will find practical help and tips from them which may help you.

Nurture UK is a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of every child and young person by promoting nurture across the whole education system and beyond. They have produced a specially edited version of their Bereavement Box that helps anyone supporting bereaved children and young people understand what they may be experiencing with helpful suggestions on approaches and exercises to help children cope better with their grief. This Bereavement Guide is available to download here free of charge.

Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and end-of-life care. It provides a variety of online resources, information and advice for anyone needing support with a bereavement or anyone who is supporting others, including children. 

Simon Says, a child bereavement support charity, has published a downloadable bereavement support booklet.

The BBC CBeebies have produced a short film Talking about death with your little one.

Grief Counselling and Therapy

When a child or young person is struggling with their mental health following a bereavement, counselling and therapy can help them to process what is going on in a safe environment. Counselling and therapy, sometimes called psychotherapy, are both types of talking therapy, which can be a source of support if a child or young person is struggling with something, particularly bereavement and grief. As the name suggests, talking therapy often involves talking about their feelings, thoughts and experiences. This can help them to make sense of what is going on in their life, and give them a safe place where they can talk about difficult feelings, get things off their chest, and find ways of coping with bereavement and loss. 

During bereavement, it can help a child or young person to talk about the person who has died, whether it was a grandparent, parent, brother, sister or friend. A bereavement counsellor can use various methods to help the child or young person to understand what they are feeling and come to terms with their loss. A bereavement counsellor will use their training and experience to offer a responsive, child-centred environment that enables the child to develop a language that shapes their grief experience from their own perspective. Working in a child-centred way means the counsellor may also offer guidance to those who care for the child, so there is consistent support.

You can approach your GP for a referral to an NHS child bereavement counsellor, or, if you contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), they can provide you with details of specialist child bereavement counsellors in your area. Their therapist directory lists BACP-accredited therapists, or you can call their customer services teams on 01455 883300. Lines are open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Many of the charities and organisations that have been mentioned in this article also provide counselling and therapy services such as Young Minds or Grief Encounter.

Educational Resources

The children’s bereavement charity Daisy’s Dream has collated a list of the books that they have found useful when supporting bereaved children:

Pre-school Age and Upwards

  • Missing Mummy by Rebecca Cole
  • Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
  • Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? by Elke and Alex Barber
  • Little Meerkat’s Big Panic by Jane Evans
  • Rabbityness by Jo Empson
  • Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine by Diana Crossley
  • The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Primary School Age

  • The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside
  • Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen
  • The Secret C: Straight Talking About Cancer by Julie Stokes
  • Beyond the Rough Rock: Supporting a Child Who Has Been Bereaved by Suicide by Di Stubbs
  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey
  • Only One of Me – A Love Letter from Mum by Lisa Wells and Michelle Robinson
  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
  • It’s Not Fair! by Jane Foulkes and Wendy Picken
  • No Matter What by Debi Gliori
  • Laura’s Star by Klaus Baumgart
  • Goodbye Mousie by Robie H Harris
  • The Rainbow Feelings of Cancer by Chia Martin and Carrie Martin
  • The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic
  • Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie
  • Drop Dead by Babette Cole

Key Stage 2 and upwards

  • Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian

Secondary School Age

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Supportive Communities

Grief Kind Spaces are weekly, in-person drop-in sessions held in the local community and run by trained volunteers. The sessions provide a safe, informal and supportive place for people to come together and share their experiences of grief, helping attendees to feel heard and less alone. The spaces are volunteer-led, with volunteers receiving training and guidance to help attendees connect with each other and share their experiences of grief through peer-to-peer support.

More and more churches and other religious establishments are becoming involved in organising peer support groups for bereavement. One such initiative is the Bereavement Journey, a list of participating venues can be found here.

Let’s Talk About Loss provides safe spaces to talk through taboos and addresses the reality of losing someone close to you when you are young. They run peer-led meet-up groups in cities across the UK.

Financial Assistance and Scholarships

Bereavement is difficult at any stage of life but especially for children and young people. There are a range of charitable organisations that can provide financial assistance to families and others that may provide scholarships to children affected by bereavement.

One significant form of financial assistance comes in the form of the Bereavement Support Payment. This is a financial support scheme provided by the government to help individuals cope with the financial impact of losing a spouse or civil partner. Learn more about the Bereavement Support Payment here.

Turn2us is a national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially.

The Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme (AFBSS) provides the children of those whose death is attributable to Military Service a head start in life by enabling them to progress in their post-16 education. 

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is the national charity of Freemasonry. They offer a range of grants to help young people in education or training to achieve their potential and maximise their talents. 

Organisations supporting child bereavement

How to Access Support

We have provided links to many support services throughout this article, and there are also many other organisations both locally and nationally who provide a range of services to support bereaved children, young people and their families and friends. These include, but are not limited to:

Cruse Bereavement Support has over 80 local branches delivering services locally. You can search here for your nearest branch.

AtaLoss was founded in 2016 by Yvonne Richmond Tulloch to ensure that every bereaved person in the UK can find the support that they need.

Drug Fam provides information and support about bereavement through drugs or alcohol.

Kaleidoscope Plus has 24-hour text crisis support, suicide prevention services, bereavement support, counselling in the community, mental health services for children and activity groups within the community aimed at promoting inclusion, support, recovery, wellness and self-care.

Memorials of Distinction provides a guide on how schools can support bereaved pupils.

The Mix provides free confidential help for young people under 25.

National Centre for Children and Families is a children’s mental health charity offering helpful tips on self-care. 

Riprap provides support for teenagers with parents diagnosed with cancer.

Road Peace provides support for people bereaved by road deaths.

Ruth Strauss Foundation offers support and guidance to help families prepare for grief, death and dying following the diagnosis of a terminal illness.

SADS UK provides information and support for sudden arrhythmic death syndrome: cardiac death in young to middle-aged persons.

SSAFA is the Armed Forces Charity providing events which facilitate peer support, a safe space to grieve and an opportunity for respite.

Support After Suicide provides support for people bereaved or affected by suicide.

Conclusion: Nurturing Healing and Resilience

In this article we have explored the many organisations, support groups and resources that are available to help you to support a child or young person who has been bereaved and who is working their way through the challenging journey of the grieving process. Please feel free to click on the links provided to gain more information about those most relevant to your own situation.

Adults have an important role to play in supporting the resilience and mental health of children and young people who have suffered a bereavement. By acknowledging a child or young person’s feelings, supporting them, and seeking professional help where appropriate, you can help a child or young person to deal with these sometimes traumatic and usually very upsetting life events. Bereavement is something that we will all go through; however, a child or young person experiencing bereavement for the first time may struggle to understand the concept of death and loss and how they are supposed to behave when someone dies. They will need time, space and support to express their feelings in a way that works for them.   

Child Bereavement

Child Bereavement

Just £20

Study online and gain a full CPD certificate posted out to you the very next working day.

Take a look at this course

About the author

Avatar photo

Lily O'Brien

Lily has worked with CPD Online College since November 2023. She helps out with content production as well as working closely with freelance writers and voice artists. Lily is currently studying towards gaining her business administration level 3 qualification. Outside of work Lily loves going out and spending quality time with friends, family and her dog Mabel.

Similar posts