PCC Supports Youth Bereavement Education Project
“Losing people close to me made me feel a huge loss of control of everything around me. One day I can be perfectly fine and there are others when I feel overwhelmed.”
Sameera aged 16, lost her mum to cancer when she was just 12 years old. Her father then sadly passed away a year later.

She is one of six Youth Ambassadors who made short films on coping with childhood bereavement, which were recently shown and celebrated at a public film screening in Letchworth Garden City.

The Youth Ambassador programme, set up and run by bereavement charity Stand By Me, received a £5,000 grant from Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner as part of the national #iwill programme.

#iwill is a UK-wide campaign aiming to get 6 out of 10 young people involved in social action by 2020. It provided grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 for each project and was managed and distributed by Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF).

This funding supported the training of the young ambassadors in skills that they can use to reach out to their peers, professionals, potential service users and funders about the effects of childhood bereavement.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd said: “This project fits brilliantly with the purpose of the #iwill programme, which provides grants to encourage young people to get involved in social activities and make a positive difference to their communities.

“Sadly, it is estimated that over 4,000  school age children in Hertfordshire have been bereaved by a parent or a sibling at some point in their childhood.* In some cases, bereaved young people are more likely to engage in negative coping strategies such as self-harm, substance abuse and anti-social behaviour.

“It is therefore vital that the correct support, like that provided by Stand By Me, exists to give these young people the tools to cope and grieve properly and openly.”

Sandra Blacker, Clinical Lead Trustee at Stand By Me said: “We are incredibly grateful for the Police and Crime Commissioner’s support which enabled us to develop this programme and work with these remarkable young people on their journey to becoming Young Ambassadors. The self-belief, confidence and skills they have acquired whilst working on the project has been immense and is evident their own video stories of bereavement.

“It wasn't too long ago when these young people first attended Stand-by-by with many worries about life and death, a feeling of isolation and often finding it hard to talk, smile or even give eye contact. Now they want to help make changes for others whilst managing their own grief and impart hope to other bereaved children and families at a time when it can feel like all hope is lost.”

Helen Gray, Director at Hertfordshire Community Foundation said: “We were very grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner whose support of the #iwill programme last year enabled us to make twice as many grants to great youth social action projects like this one. 

“We would love to hear from more groups with good social action ideas this year including volunteering, campaigning and fundraising which help to make a positive difference to their communities.’’  

The #iwill programme is currently open for applications until April 9th, 2018. More information can be found on the HCF website - http://www.hertscf.org.uk/grant-making

*Childhood Bereavement Network 2016

About Hertfordshire Community Foundation

Hertfordshire Community Foundation is a registered charity which aims to tackle need and deprivation in Hertfordshire and to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here. They do this by providing grants to enable Hertfordshire charities and voluntary groups to tackle identified needs of the communities of Hertfordshire. The Foundation also manage funds for people and organisations wanting to support local causes.

Since inception in 1988, they have awarded over £12 million in support to local communities. The Foundation currently manages over 100 funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and other organisations. During 2016/2017 we awarded £467,682 in direct grant aid to charitable projects working to tackle identified need in Hertfordshire.