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Thank you Children in Need for helping us to support 110 young people every year

Stella Christou and I are Child and Family Therapists in the Family Support Services team at Saint Francis Hospice.  Discussing our positions is relevant today because our roles and the work we do are funded by BBC Children In Need.  
Stella Christou and Anna Green with Pudsey Bear (cropped)

Group pic with Stella and AnnaThanks to this funding, which we have been grateful to receive for the past few years, we are able to see an average of 110 children per year.      

We see children who know an adult that is also known to us at Saint Francis Hospice. 

This includes both pre-bereaved work and bereavement work.       

Children are referred to us from the IPU staff when they visit the adult known to us, by Community Nurse Specialists, their school, their family or other members of staff who are involved with the family's care.      

Stella and I offer both 1-2-1 support, sibling support and family sessions at the hospice, their school or their home.  We will often begin with an assessment session at the hospice, where we introduce ourselves and get to know the family. 

This is an opportunity to find out why they feel they need this support and what they had in mind from us. 

From this initial meeting we then decide whether they will need ongoing 1-2-1 support and where is the best location to see them. 

We often travel to schools, sometimes four in one day, so that we can reach the children in a safe and structured environment. 

This is especially helpful when it is hard for the family to travel to us at the hospice.    

There is no set time limit or number of sessions that we see the children for, we decide this based on how we and their families feel they are doing. 

They also maGroup pic with Stella and Annay come back to us in the future as because of the nature of the work, they can be affected in different ways at different stages of their lives.      

In our roles we have also had the opportunity to host activity days for the children we see. 

These are informal days where children can meet those in a similar situation to them.  This year we invited children aged 7+ to join us at YMCA Romford for 'Foot Up'. 

At this event the children were invited to climb the rock-climbing wall and engage in 'glow sports'. 

We received a positive response from this day, many of the children seemed surprised and proud of themselves for making their tricky climbs.     Group pic with Stella and Anna

This year we noticed an increase in referrals for children under the age of 7. 

Because of this we decided to hold a separate activity day for this age group, inviting a parent to join each child. 

We took a small group of children and parents to Old Macdonald's Farm, Brentwood on a very rainy Sunday morning. 

We explored the farm, indoor play area and greeted the range of animals. 

This was again an opportunity for the children to meet others who are also known to the hospice, and for their parents to also meet each other.      

Aside from Stella and I, we also now have Nina Tara (Trainee Art Therapist) who is working with a child at their school for individual art therapy sessions. 

Nina will be joining us from September 2018 - May 2019 as part of her university placement.      

We would like to take this opportunity to thank BBC Children In Need for their support, the work we do really wouldn't be possible without them!