Annual Report

Grampian Child Bereavement Network

Office C/O MHA

1 Alford Place Aberdeen

AB10 1YD

 

Bankers:

Royal Bank of Scotland

62 Broad Street

Fraserburgh

Aberdeenshire

AB43 9AS

 

Trustees

Jan Sanders – Chair

Lorraine Hehir – Secretary

Joyce Taylor – Treasurer

Anne McIntosh

Jo Grieve

Valerie Oddie

Lesley Stewart

Melinda Stewart

Lynn Millier

 

Objectives

They Key Objectives of GCBN re to raise awareness about the impact of bereavement on

children and young people, to provide advice, guidance, mentoring support and training to those working with bereaved children.

 

Activities

The key objectives of GCBN include:

  • Raising awareness of the impact of bereavement on children and young people through GCBN’s website and Facebook page, social media, leaflets, service provision and training.
  • Assisting children and young people to access appropriate support for bereavement within Grampian through signposting, advice, guidance, direct support, information leaflets and a book gifting service.
  • Providing advice, guidance and information to carers and professionals supporting a bereaved child or young person through signposting, advice, guidance, direct support, information leaflets and a book gifting service.
  • Providing direct support and mentoring to those caring for or working with bereaved children and young people.
  • Providing opportunities for children and young people and their carers to come together to acknowledge their loss and form helpful and effetive networks through social media, activity days, teenage support groups and the Newsletter.
  • Providing training for schools, organisations and professionals to build capacity in the provision of effective bereavement support for children and young people in Grampian.

 

Evaluation

GCBN evaluates the service it provides on an ongoing basis by:

  • Feedback from individuals and families using the service (Surveymonkey and evaluation questionnaires)
  • Comments on Social Media
  • Feedback and evaluation from training and events (Surveymonkey and evaluation questionnaires)

 

Since its inception in 2009, GCBN has grown and developed in line with direct response to feedback from those using the service about what they would find most helpful in a bereavement support service. Whilst this does not mean that we can provide everything that those using the service ask for, we have been able to develop responsively to meet key identified needs.

 

Achievements and Performance

During this reporting period GCBN has continued to perform well in meeting its main objectives and in delivering key services, with there being significant growth in a number of areas of provision.

 

The partnership with MHA continues with their “hosting” the co-ordinators post and this provides an effective and helpful arrangement for GCBN.

 

During the reporting period, GCBN increased the number of activity days it offered. 8 Activity days were provided for all ages including a first activity day in Moray. A specific activity day for older children also took place and a teenage support group has been established in the city, with hopes to develop a further on in the Banff/Moray area.

 

The activity days continue to be an extremely popular aspect of the service and give children and young people an opportunity to come together and share with others who have experienced a significant loss. The children and young people get involved in a range of activities which develop skills and build confidence, whilst also allowing the children to have some fun together. We also undertake some focussed work on keeping the memory of their special person safe.

 

Parents and carers continue to benefit from these days, finding the opportunity to meet together helpful and, from this, have established their own support networks. It continues to be encouraging to see parents who have been using the service for some years supporting newly bereaved families at the activity days. One parent of children using our services became a trustee of GCBN in September 2016 and one parent became a volunteer.We aso appointed one young person using our services as a youth representative.

 

The number of referrals of children and young people for the reporting period was 98. Whilst this reflects a reduction as compared with the previous period, a key objective has been to build capacity in those working with children and young people to provide bereavement support and there has been an increase in the consultations and training that GCBN has provided.

 

GCBN has provided a specific response to a number of schools following an incident of traumatic death. Awareness raising and training have been delivered to 137 staff in schools in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. This aspect of service provision, which has developed as a direct result of requests from schools for specific support and guidance, continues to grow.

 

During the reporting period, a number of key training workshops have been provided by GCBN along with training for specific groups working with children and young people.

 

  • Supporting children bereaved through substance and alcohol misuse was led by Anne McIntosh in November 2015. This was attended by 40 delegates from Aberdeenshire and was funded by Aberdeenshire Council.
  • Supporting Bereaved Children and young people training led by Anne McIntosh was provided for Quarriers staff in October 2016 with 18 staff attending.
  • Three training sessions on awareness raising and supporting bereaved children and young people have been provided to foster carers in Aberdeenshire and one in Aberdeen City. 39 Foster Carers accessed training and it is anticipated that more carers will undertake the training in 2017.
  • A training session supporting bereaved children and young people was provided to 12 Befriend a Child volunteers in Aberdeen City.

 

In October 2016 GCBN led a joint conference with CRUSE Bereaved Care Scotland at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen. Hope for the future focussed on supporting bereaved children and young people following death through suicide and other sudden traumatic loss.

 

Keynote speakers included Elke Barbour (Renowned author of Daddy is coming back in a minute), Professor Rory O’Connor and a conversation with a young widower, parent to three small boys whose wife f=took her own life. Workshops focussed on providing practical support, advice and ways of working with bereaved children and young people.

 

The conference was attended by 120 delegates and feedback about the event was extremely positive. This including delegates welcoming the opportunity to attend such a training event in this part of Scotland.

 

GCBN continues to coordinate the Child Bereavement Network group for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. This brings together child bereavement support services, looks at ways of ensuring information about services is accessible and maximises the potential for meeting need. The group has been further extended and now includes CRUSE, CLAN, CHAS, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Education Services, Barnardo’s SANDS, CAMHS, Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital Chaplaincy, Choose Life and the Samaritans. Work has progressed on the development of an e.directory for bereavement services and resources for children and young people in the Grampian area and this is now being taken forwards by CBUK.

 

The Facebook page has continued to prove a popular means of families finding out about GCBN and communicating with us. It continues to raise awareness about the service, informs people about both local and national events and highlights child bereavement issues. Referrals to the service now come regularly via the Facebook page.

 

The quarterly newsletter which is produced tells many people what is being planned for GCBN Activity Days and services and includes helpful articles and information on supporting bereaved children and young people.

 

Leaflets are available on all aspects of the services offered by GCBN and providing helpful information on supporting bereaved children and young people.

 

Following an earlier review of the GCBN website, the more up to date, flexible and interactive site continues to be a priority for the charity.

 

Policies and procedural guidance are subject to continuous review and a number of additional policies and practice guidance notes have been incorporated during the reporting period. This includes a policy on ‘conflict of interests’ which is now a standing item on the agenda for all meetings of the board of trustees.

 

Financial Review

Our main sources of funding continue to be a grant from the ARCHIE Foundation (The award for which has continued for a further 3 year period from December 2014) and donations and fundraising from individuals, groups and organisations. The grand from the Archie Foundation provides for the salary of our Coordinator. Since our programme of provision of training has grown, a small income has also been realised from this, despite training being offered on a no fee basis. We are now registered with HMRC to receive Gift Aid.

 

Funding for the reporting period totals £4,118 in donations, £2,100 in grants, £3,271 in fundraising, £77 in training income, £223 in gift aid and £8,250 from the Archie Foundation. Costs from our conference which was held on 2nd of October  2016 were met in total from delegates fees.

 

Whilst we have not undertaken any formal fundraising events ourselves during this period, we are extremely grateful to many individuals and groups who have fundraised on our behalf and to companies, community groups and schools for their generous donations.

 

During this financial year, we have purchased items of equipment – display boards, pop up banners and identification cards for trustees – which are extremely useful, both in raising awareness for our charity and at training events.

 

Future Planning

The last reporting period has seen continued growth in demand for the service, particularly in regard to the training and the increase in provision of the service in Moray. Development has been informed by identified need and feedback by those using the service with regard to what is most helpful.

 

We have continued to endeavour to work to manage service growth in line with our resources and have successfully delivered on all aspects of the service. We have however been unable to take forward some of the anticipated service developments that we had hoped to during the reporting period.

 

The coordinator manages the day to day running of the organisation , as well as the running and coordination of services provided by the charity, alongside being the first point of contact for the referrers. Besides the work of the coordinator, much of the direct services provided by GCBN is delivered by trustees alongside their management responsibilities, with volunteers providing support for activity days.

 

Having previously recognised the need to increase capacity in the management of the service through creating a volunteer coordinator post this was put on hold in 2016 due to changes in MHA which may have affected their capacity to manage an additional post. Whilst this situation is now resolved and we could move forward on this, the funding period for the coordinators post from the Archie Foundation expires in October 2017 and we consider securing further funding for the post our current priority.

 

At present we are awaiting the outcome of a funding application for this post and are continuing to work to find more secure funding opportunities for the work of GCBN, alongside general fundraising.

 

We will be taking forward the application of an additional 5 volunteers and continue to seek to recruit further volunteers (particularly in the south of Aberdeenshire) and trustees to GCBN to increase the capacity of the service.

 

GCBN will continue to build on partnerships with other Child Bereavement support service providers and to work with them to ensure available information is accessible to bereaved children, young people and those supporting them and that they are able to access the support that they need when they need it.

 

We will continue to develop and build upon training for schools, professionals and others working with children to increase capacity and the quality of bereavement support available.

 

The newsletter has developed to include more contributions from families who can use GCBN services and this will be built upon in 2017.

 

Work is continuing to develop a new website. It is anticipated that this will be achieved in 2017 and a formal launch will be undertaken once it is live.

 

The trustees annual report for the year end 14 October 2016 was approved by the trustees on 11th of April 2016 and signed on their behalf by Janet Sanders.