Simon Stanley was a 37-year-old teacher from Southampton, Hampshire, when he died from cancer. His wife, Sally, found there was no bereavement support locally for their two sons, Andrew (5) and Tom (2). Research indicated that The Stanley’s experience was not unique and there was a wider need to provide resources and information to children, parents, teachers, health professionals and emergency services in Hampshire.
Simon Says became a registered charity in 2001, and was formally launched in 2002 with Sally Taylor MBE as its patron, with the aim of supporting children and young people within Hampshire, who have a close relative/friend who has died or is dying. The death of someone important can have a devastating effect on a young person, but we know that given appropriate support and information, children and young people can be helped to understand what has happened and can be helped to rebuild their lives.
From our office in West Wellow Simon Says supports children, young people and their parents living in Hampshire, through workshops, support groups, and written information and documentation. Simon Says runs a telephone help line and offers befriending and counselling services. Support groups currently run in the New Forest (New Milton), Central Hampshire (Eastleigh), East Hampshire (Hilsea), North Hampshire (Basingstoke) and Gosport. The Groups offer the opportunity for families to learn from one another and share their experiences of bereavement with the realisation that other people have felt the same way which can be very reassuring in helping them through their bereavement journey. Simon Says also works very closely with schools and professionals working with children offering advice, support and training on coping with child bereavement.
Facts & Figures
It is estimated that every 22 minutes a child or young person in the UK is bereaved of a parent. It is estimated that 1 in 25 of school aged children (between 5yrs and 16yrs) will have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. This does not account for those who have lost another significant person eg grandparent, uncle, cousin or a close friend. Covering just Hampshire, the Simon Says Helpline receives over 2500 calls per year requesting support and/or information for helping bereaved children. An average of 900 bereaved children and young people attend the Simon Says support groups per annum. Almost 50% of the deaths Simon Says has supported, have been sudden deaths eg heart attack, road traffic accidents suicide, or murder.
via Simon Says.