Fitmums & Friends begins project to help children and young people cope with bereavement

Local charity, Fitmums & Friends, has teamed up with the Humber Forest School and the University of Hull to develop an innovative programme of support for children and young people who are experiencing bereavement.

Together in Grief – The Forest Project will help children and young people aged 10 to 17 years cope with bereavement. The programme will give them the chance to take part in outdoor activities such as den building, camp fire cooking, tool making, tree climbing, forest games and rope work. They will also explore literature to help them understand and express their loss and grief. Grief discussions and support are carefully built into the programme.

The aim is to create a safe space in which children and young people can explore and express their grief, and learn ways of coping. Sam Barlow BEM, Chief Officer of Fitmums & Friends, explains:

“We know that being active and being with others who share the experience of bereavement can be an incredible help when struggling with grief. We really hope that the children and young people who participate will find comfort in being with others who understand how they are feeling, and that they will make connections with each other that will support them when the sessions end. We also hope that they’ll learn new skills: emotional, practical, and literary. Most of all, we hope the sessions will help them feel better, mentally and physically.”

The project is an extension of Fitmums & Friends’ Together in Grief programme, launched earlier this year to support bereaved adults through supportive walking and yoga sessions. To deliver Together in Grief – The Forest Project, Fitmums & Friends is working with the Humber Forest School and the University of Hull. Sessions will take place in a private woodland near Wawne so that participants can experience the physical and mental health benefits of being outside in nature. 

Staff from the forest school will lead the practical forest activities, while University of Hull researchers will facilitate the literary activities. Bereavement support facilitators will manage bereavement discussions and ensure appropriate therapeutic support.

The free programme is open to children and young people aged 10 to 17 years who are registered with a Hull GP or have a Hull postcode. The first sessions begin Saturday 20 November and places can be booked by completing this form. More sessions are planned for next year.

For more information about the programme, please visit Fitmums & Friends’ website.

Fitmums & Friends is grateful for project funding from The Ideas Fund, a grants programme run by the British Science Association and funded by Wellcome, which enables the UK public to develop and try out ideas that address problems related to mental wellbeing.