Edward’s Trust provides vital support to families facing bereavement. We support parents who have lost a child, children and young people who are bereaved of a parent, significant carer, sibling or friend, and anyone who is affected by the death of a child.
We are the only independent service in the West Midlands that supports the whole family. So if a child is suffering from the death of a brother or sister, we can support both the child and the parents at the same time. The families we see are all suffering from traumatic bereavements, where support at an early stage can help prevent mental illnesses from developing.
We receive more than 500 new referrals every year, more than half of which are because of baby loss. We support over 3,000 families every year in a variety of ways – in 2017 alone we delivered over 5,000 one to one counselling appointments, 675 well-being sessions, and 3 care retreats for bereaved parents.
One-to-one counselling is at the core of our work – bereavement is very personal and individual, and our families need a safe place to talk without fear of judgement. Our well-being sessions provide further coping techniques using Mindfulness and meditation, plus relaxation through massage and reflexology.
Our group work helps our families feel less alone – they’re not the only ones experiencing this trauma, and realise that what they’re going through is part of the “normal” grieving process. We have specialist children’s counsellors that use a variety of techniques to help the child express their grief and build trust with the counsellors and with other children in group sessions. We use art and play therapy to help with this, and create a social atmosphere where the children can have fun and relax without feeling guilty or judged.
We hold two Remembrance Times, one for adults and one for children, which offer a chance for families to remember their loved one in the run up to Christmas, the most difficult time for those grieving.
Our services are completely free of charge – many of the people we support are struggling with finances due to having extended time off work or the loss of a spouse/partner. Our clients are from some of the most deprived areas in Britain, so providing free services means our services are accessible to all.
Of the families we supported last year, 90% of parents said their well-being improved and 91% said their anxiety had reduced. The children and young people showed improvements in areas such as behaviour and attitude at home, family life and relationship with others, understanding and controlling emotions and feeling less alone. The long term benefits we help bring about are that the parents and children will have improved mental health and wellbeing, be better able to cope with their grief and feel less isolated. Without forgetting their baby or sibling, the families acknowledge the long term nature of their grief but go on to live their lives to the fullest.
“I came to you shattered, barely alive inside and very alone. You held my hand when no one else could, and helped me through things I never thought I would be able to face.”
“Losing a child is a lifelong loss; it changes life. It can also be very isolating. Edwards’s Trust gives a space to be safe and to find hope and others to share experience with”
“When he died our world stopped and we didn’t know how we would survive. Nothing takes the pain away but as you carry on seeing the counsellor it becomes easier, you build up a relationship and you look forward to coming. There aren’t many people out there who will really listen to you, there are friends and family who say they will but they don’t. It’s nice to have an hour just to talk about your feelings. We don’t always do counselling, they have different events on; we’ve gone to the zoo with them and different families and it’s nice to know there is more people like you. Not that you are on your own”
“The counselling is fantastic. Edward’s Trust is the one place that is safest place to be in the world: to air everything; to get everything off your chest; to deal with frustrations. Edward’s Trust helps you to understand what you’re experiencing and that it’s OK. To understand that there is a future—it is a different future to the one that you had planned but there is a future of hope. Losing a child is a lifelong loss; it changes life. It can also be very isolating. Edward’s Trust gives a space to be safe and to find hope and others to share experience with”.
“We still have good days and bad days, but now we have learned to accept where we are and we now know what we can do to help. We have also learned that we can still be ourselves and remember the good times; this took a long time, but we discovered that there is no timescale to grief; Edward’s Trust gave us a freedom to be ourselves.”
We are approaching our 30th year in 2019, and are proud to look back and see the difference we have made to thousands of families who have been able to survive the unimaginable. Edward’s Trust helps families find the strength to live again and have hope for the future.
What others have said:
“I will never in a million life times be able to thank this organisation enough . Since our baby Billy died in June they have provided myself and my family with such amazing support I really do not know where I would be without them. They provide myself and my son with weekly counselling sessions as well as many other activities. They put on a amazing family Christmas party , memorial services , support groups plus so much more. I know they are always there at the end of the telephone if required . It doesn’t feel like an organisation , it feels like a family.”