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Lincolnshire scheme offering bags of support for bereaved children

Hospital chaplain Pamela Beattie came up with the idea of bereavement bags for children.
Hospital chaplain Pamela Beattie came up with the idea of bereavement bags for children.

Children whose relatives have passed away in Lincolnshire’s hospitals are being helped through their grief thanks to generous donations by healthcare staff and the public.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has introduced children’s bereavement bags for children who visit seriously ill relatives in hospital or who have lost relatives.

The bags contain items to help them remember their loved ones, to comfort and entertain them and to help them to cope.

They were the brainchild of hospital chaplain Pamela Beattie, who introduced them after being called to a ward one day when a young mum had died and ward staff didn’t know what to do for the best to support her young son.

“On that occasion, I happened to have a sheep soft toy in my office and I took that and gave it to the boy and spoke to him about caring for him in his time of need and the fact that he shouldn’t think there was no-one there for him who understood,” she said.

“I saw the difference that toy made to him, just making him realise that someone cares. Our staff really struggle at difficult times like these and don’t always know what to do with bereaved children, and so it came from there.”

She gathered support from hospital staff, volunteers and local businesses for her idea of creating bags for bereaved children, and has handed out more than 40 in the past six months.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had. We’ve got people sewing bags for us and many individuals and businesses donating things to go in the bags, but we could always use more,” said Pamela.

“We make bags for different ages of child, including something for them to play with as a distraction, something to comfort them and something to help them remember their loved ones.”

The bags include information leaflets on bereavement for children, memory jigsaws, forget me not seeds, bears, hearts to decorate, colouring books/pens/colouring pencils, journals and small toys.