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  • Writer's picturePaul W Skinner

Bereaved young children in the West Midlands will get help and support thanks to local Freemasons

Hundreds of young children across the West Midlands who have lost a parent or other close family member will be given the help and support they need to deal with their grief in a safe and age-appropriate manner, thanks to a grant of £59,000 from Warwickshire Freemasons to the Edward’s Trust charity.

Edward’s Trust uses Play Therapy with children aged between four and 10 years to give them the emotional support they need and to help them learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways.

The outcomes of Play Therapy may be general improvement in wellbeing, such as a reduction in anxiety and raised self-esteem, or more specific such as a change in behaviour and improved relations with family and friends.

According to Child Bereavement UK, one in 29 children (aged five -16) have been bereaved of a parent or sibling. This is the equivalent of one child in an average class at school, and these figures are from before the pandemic.

A parent of a child under 18yrs old dies every 22 minutes, a total of 23,600 a year. This equates to 111 children bereaved of a parent every day.

Edward’s Trust is now in its 32nd year, having provided support to thousands of children and young people in that time. Of the young children they have supported in the last year, all have shown an increase in wellbeing, with 86 per cent say they worry less since receiving our support and 77 per cent feeling more positive.

The grant from Warwickshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Yvonne Gilligan Chief Executive of Edward’s Trust said:

“We’re very grateful to Warwickshire Freemasons for their generous grant which will help hundreds of young children who have lost a parent or other close family member.

“We’re offering Play Therapy because we know different children respond in different ways to counselling and therapy and we’re already seeing the impact this is having. We’re supporting 100 families a week and we know they are now facing even more challenging issues due to the pandemic.

”The support we offer at Edwards Trust is unconditional. Our support is there for as long as it is needed by our families.”

Philip Hall, Head of Warwickshire Freemasons, said:

“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Edward’s Trust with their hugely important work with young children who have lost a close family member.

“For a young child the loss of a parent or a sibling is the worst thing they can imagine and helping them to process their grief in a safe and appropriate way can make an enormous difference to their mental and physical health, now and in the future.”

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