Holding On Letting Go

Since 1998 Holding On Letting Go have provided bereavement support to children and young people and their families across Kent and Medway. They run non-residential bereavement weekends where children can talk to trained volunteers about their loss. They use a variety of activities to help the children express their emotions such as using the 'anger wall', making memory boxes and music therapy. The weekends end in a closing ceremony where each participant lights a candle to remember their special person and releases a balloon to signify letting go of their difficult memories. 

Holding On Letting Go

With a significant increase in the number of referrals received by Holding on Letting, they needed funding to pay for an assessor to meet the demand. Since appointing the assessor they have decreased the waiting time for families between referral and assessment to two weeks which led to them being offered a place on one of their bereavement support weekends more quickly. The service has been accessed by 174 children in 2016-17 and the assessor has completed almost twice the number of assessments as last year. 

The service helped decrease isolation; many have formed lasting friendships, increased communication in families; helping them to move through their grieving process together and increased engagement and attendance at school.

Jack, 15, suffers with severe visual impairment and autism. His grandmother, who he was very close to, died from malignant melanoma in 2015. Jack was referred to Holding On Letting Go because he was isolated, unable to show emotion or talk about his feelings around his grandmother's death. During the bereavement weekend, the team saw a change in his demeanour and confidence as he engaged with the activities and was able to share his story and feelings.

I understand it all a bit more now. You helped me get through it. I enjoyed the friendly environment. 

A very nervous Jack went into the first session and a smiling Jack came out. Thank you! 
Jack's Mother







Jack has now reached the finals of the British Guide Dog Association's Young Dog Handler's Awards and his family are thrilled that he now has the confidence to attend the ceremony, which he would not have done before.