Search

Vision to meet ‘unprecedented’ number of bereaved children turning to Nelson’s Journey

PUBLISHED: 10:10 18 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:17 18 October 2014

Colin Lang, Nelson's Journey chief executive.
Picture: Denise Bradley

Colin Lang, Nelson's Journey chief executive. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

One of Norfolk’s biggest charities, dedicated to supporting bereaved children, needs a major expansion to meet “unprecedented” demand for its services.

‘A godsend for us’

Nelson’s Journey was a “godsend” to one Norwich family left devastated by a family loss.

Julie Smith, 39, said her daughters Libby, 10, and Gemma, six, adored their doting grandmother, Ann Sadler from Lakenham.

But when she died suddenly of ovarian cancer last year, their lives were ripped apart.

“She was like a second mum to my girls, they were with her all the time. So when she died they were really hit hard”, Mrs Smith said.

But when the Smiths, from West Acre Drive in Old Catton, were introduced to the bereavement charity, the whole family’s grief became easier to cope with.

“We were introduced to Nelson’s Journey through the school. They showed the girl’s how to cope with their feelings and helped me and my husband Ady as well,” she said.

“Because I was so upset myself after losing my mum, I found it hard too.

“They were an absolute godsend. They stopped the girls from being scared and allowed all of us to be with other people who have experience the same as us.

“They showed the girls they are not alone and it’s not a bad thing to cry of be upset. I really don’t think we would be where we are without Nelson’s Journey.”

To get in touch with Nelson’s Journey email enquiries@nelsonsjourney.org.uk or call 01603 431788

Nelson’s Journey is considering opening two new sites in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn even before it has unveiled its main centre on the Norwich outskirts in November.

There was a 40pc increase in the number of children turning to the charity in the first six months of this year, compared to the same time in 2013.

That means a record 600 grieving 0 to 17-year-olds could have used Nelson’s Journey by the end of this year alone.

The Betts family from Bintree near Dereham and the Smiths from Old Catton are one of hundreds of families to have been supported by the bereavement charity.

Charity chief executive Colin Lang puts the dramatic increase down to the NHS no longer providing bereavement care for youngsters – meaning many of those who do not get support drop out of education, develop a mental health issue, have problems with alcohol and drugs or end up in the criminal justice system.

He said: “We have never seen numbers like this before, it’s unprecedented. They just keep going up and up. Now we are seeing these huge numbers, we really need to get some support out there.”

The majority of children referred to the charity are from the Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk areas of the county.

The potential new sites, which would not be owned by the charity like Smiles House in Little Plumstead, would allow bereavement workers to have a safe space to work with the children on a one-to-one basis.

MPs and regional health bosses met earlier this month to work out how to help fund the charity in the coming year.

Individual and business donations make up 61pc of Nelson’s Journey’s funding, with statutory money contributing just 15pc.

At the round table event held in Hethel, Norwich’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) pledged £22,000 but other authorities are yet to follow-suit.

Care minister and north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he favours closer ties between the NHS and the voluntary sector and said he would encourage the CCGs to support bereavement organisations more.

But Mr Lang said the government is being “short-sighted” in its approach to bereavement in Norfolk.

“A service should be provided by the government – we wouldn’t exist without the generosity of Norfolk people,” Mr Lang said.

“Bereavement has always been the second fiddle. If someone drops down dead there’s nothing for that family unless someone develops a mental health issue, then they will get some help.

“The government has got to realise there’s nothing in Norfolk at the moment. A child has got to develop a mental health issue before they get any help.

“It’s just not right that a child has to get to that stage before they get any support.”

Mr Lamb said criticising the government was “misplaced” as decisions about where cash is spent is made locally.

What are your views? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Diss Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Diss Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Diss Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

Yesterday, 18:40

Rail passengers travelling to and from Norwich can expect delays this evening due to problems with overhead wires.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A motorist who performed a U-turn and then rammed head-on into another car on the A140 will face no further action after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewed the case.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A host of weird and wonderful items can be found at the TW Gaze auction rooms and sale meadow at Diss. Here are just a few picks from the sale meadow.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Phone lines at Norfolk County Council have been restored following a fire and suspected power surge.

Most Read

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The sweeping parkland once played host to one of south Norfolk's finest country houses.

But now a stunning 21st-century country home is being built on the site of the former Boyland Hall which was demolished in 1946 after falling into decline.

Read more
Saturday, April 29, 2017

A motorist who performed a U-turn and then rammed head-on into another car on the A140 will face no further action after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewed the case.

Read more
Ford
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Emergency services were called out to the scene of a crash on the A140 this morning.

Read more
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A car came off the road and crashed into a house in a Suffolk village today.

Read more
Friday, September 23, 2016

A talented medical student found on a patch of land near Old Buckenham in March died when hypothermia set in after taking a lethal mixture of drugs, an inquest has heard.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 7°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter