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To Absent Friends 1-7th November

To Absent Friends Festival takes place every year in Scotland, and is an ‘excuse to remember, to tell stories, to celebrate and to reminisce about people we love who have died’. By taking part, in some way, in the festival; it also allows us to create new memories too.

As a Change, Loss & Bereavement Group we plan to share some resources and thoughts with you over the coming days. Including our own wall of remembrance which you will be able to add to if you wish. Check out the To Absent Friends website for ideas of how to get involved, or for more information about it.

Understanding the impact of change and loss for children, young people and families – Training Dates

Just a quick reminder of our change, loss, bereavement training opportunities for the term ahead (and the rest of the school session). You do not need to book a place on these. Just sign in with the google meet code on the day.

For those looking for Seasons for Growth training, we have spaces on both the C&YP, and the Parent Programme next year. Scroll down to find our post about all of the training you can access relating to Seasons.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, to read more about what is happening in Highland please see this news release from The Highland Council, in partnership with the Highland Community Planning Partnership.

If you are supporting a child or young person who has been bereaved by suicide please see our Tragic Events Guidance and our book list for resources and guidance on how best to help them.

Armed Forces Families – a focus on deployment and separation

We are pleased to be able to share some particularly useful information prepared by the Military Liaison Group and our Promoting Positive Relationships Co-ordinator; Lou Kinnear.

As you will no doubt be aware UK troops have now left Afghanistan and are returning to their bases.  Deployment is a cycle that involves the lead up to and the returning and resettling from a Deployment and can affect Children and Young People and their families in different ways.  The newsletter below should provide you with helpful information and advice that can support and be considered.

The MLG partnership works with Educators and Practitioners providing information, training and resources and provides helpful advice, guidance and support to families of Armed Forces.  Click Here to view the MLG website for further information.

Training Dates 2021/2022

Looking for Change, Loss & Bereavement Training? Or Seasons for Growth Training? You’ve come to the right place! Here are our dates for all things Seasons and CLB this session:

You do not need to book on to these sessions – just join us using the relevant google meet code. If you want more information please get in touch on the email addresses above.

Are you a member of staff working with children, young people and their families? Join us at our Change, Loss & Bereavement Awareness training as listed in the THRIVE section of our training pathway.

To find out more about the C&YP programme click here. Get in touch if you are interested in training with us. Our first round of training this year is at the end of September and we currently still have some availability.

Are you a trained Seasons children and young people’s companion already? Would you like to be able to support parents to support their children through change and loss? Our training for this term is full already but we have three more dates available throughout the year.

Find out more here or contact us to discuss joining us on one of our one day training sessions.

Are you a trained companion looking to attend a re-connector session? We are running one each term, please get in touch to reserve a place and the Trainer running the session will be back in touch with further details.

Has it been a while since you trained in the Seasons CYP Programme? Are you keen to run a group but feel like you could do with a refresh? Get in touch with us to discuss and reserve a place at one of our sessions this year.

Have a look at our training pathway…

Over the summer we have pulled together training opportunities, resources and guidance relating to change and loss. Some of these are training that we can offer you, and others are things that you can access independently or signpost children, young people and their families to.

You can access these interactive PDF documents under Professionals -> Training Pathway.

We have used the Anna Freud THRIVE framework to help you think about what support the children and young people you work with might need, and the level of training that might be best suited to you or your staff to respond to that need.

This document will be updated as new training and resources evolve.

Make sure you download the PDFs so that you can click on the links housed within the document.

Training opportunities

Our Understanding the Impact of change and loss for children, young people and families training will be offered throughout this session. If you are a member of staff looking to join us on this training please come along to one of our online sessions. Details below:

The Promise Scotland

Have you heard about The Promise?

We are very aware that our Care Experienced children are often exposed to multiple losses, and we wanted to highlight some very relevant documents that will support us all in thinking about how best to support them.

On 5 February 2020, the Care Review published seven reports, with ‘the promise’ narrating a vision for Scotland, built on five foundations. With cross-party support and broad commitment to #KeepThePromise, Scotland, its statutory agencies, local authorities, third sector and thousands of children and families knew that much needed to change to make sure that all Scotland’s children grow up ‘loved, safe and respected.’

As a group, we are committed to promoting the promise, integrating it in to our plan and playing our part in achieving the goals set out within plan 21-24.

For more information about The Promise and what it might mean in your setting you can access the Independent Care Review, The Promise Education Briefing and Plan 21-24 via these links.

Seasons for Growth Parent Programme – Update

Thank you to our newly trained Parent Programme Companions for letting me take their picture.

You will remember a few weeks back we advertised the opportunity to be part of our very first round of Seasons Parent Programme training to staff across Highland. We had our first cohort with us yesterday, just look at their happy faces!
We are so proud and pleased to say that we have grown from three trained parent companions to twelve! Thank you for being such a fantastic and insightful group, we are very excited to see the programme spreading and growing in Highland.

Our pilot school recently shared some feedback about the programme from Parents:

What do you think you might do differently as a result of attending the programme?

“Being able to speak to my children without worrying I said something I shouldn’t have. I feel I can support my children much better and understand their thoughts and feelings.”

What aspects of the programme did you find most beneficial?

“Everything about this programme is amazing and has given me a better understanding about everything. I can’t wait to see what the kids one is like and see the positive impact it has on them.”

On a scale to 1 – 5 the parent rated themselves as a 1; feeling not confident at all about attending the programme, by the end of the programme the parent rated themselves as a 5 stating they feel very confident. 

For more information about the Parent Programme click here.

Demystifying Death Week – blog 4

We know that children who are bereaved will be grieving for life and the loss will always be with them.  This means that children may need to look again at the details surrounding the death of an important person in their lives as they grow older. Feelings they had when young will be different several years further on as their understanding matures and the meaning of the death changes as they move through life. This is not unresolved grief but the experience of different feelings later in life, often connected to major life events such as switching classes, moving up to senior school or other significant change. 

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

People are often at a loss as to know what to say or do to help a child who has been bereaved by the death of someone important to them. Every situation is different, and children will be affected to a greater or lesser degree, dependent on the circumstances of the death and the nature of the relationship they had with the person who has died.

Most grieving children do not need a ‘bereavement expert’ they need people who care. Schools, just by carrying on with their usual day-to-day activities while being aware of the bereavement, can do a huge amount to support a grieving pupil.

Following this link will take you to the CBUK page which provides information and resources to support primary school pupils:

Following this link will take you to the CBUK page which provides information and resources to support secondary age pupils:

Thank you again to our Educational Psychologist; Isabel Shaver for her time in writing this blog post.