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The Slide Away Workshop and Memory Days

Bereaved children and young people have told us that, following the death of someone important to them, they sometimes feel:

anger, grief, numbness, relief, fear, confusion, despair, shock, denial, sadness, anxiety, depression, guilt...

To support them in their grief, Slide Away offers two day workshops for children and young people who have been bereaved of a parent or sibling.  Children who have been bereaved of another family member or friend are invited to attend a Memory Day.  The workshops and Memory Days provide a safe and caring environment where children have time and space to:

Meet with other young people who have suffered bereavement

Express and understand their thoughts and feelings

Be listened to and understood

Hold onto their memories

Have the opportunity to tell their story

Have permission to grieve, but also to have fun

Find coping strategies and build their resilience

Support for parents and carers

Prior to the children’s workshop or Memory Day, parents/carers are invited to a half day workshop to meet the Slide Away team who will be supportig their child and sample some of the activities. This day also aims to:

Help adults understand their child’s grief

Encourage communication within the family

Helping schools to support children

Schools are asked to identify a member of staff to take on the role of School Beravement Contact (SBC). A member of the Slide Away team will meet with the SBC to provide information and guidance on how best to support bereaved pupils in their school community. The SBC is a vital link between bereaved pupils, their familes and Slide Away and is responsible for informing the family of our service and making a referral.  Please see our Tool Kit for Schools.

Who can attend a Slide Away workshop or Memory Day?

Any young person who has experienced the death of someone important in their lives can attend either a workshop or Memory Day if they attend a school in West Kent and their school has identified a member of staff as the School Bereavement Contact.

If you are a young person who has been bereaved or an adult who is caring for a bereaved child and would like to find out how to attend a Slide Away workshop, ask to speak to the School Bereavement Contact at school or contact us on 07970 5977 15.

If the child in your care does not attend a school in West Kent, but you would like to find out about other sources of support, please go to our Links page, where you will see our list of useful organisations or click on the link below to be redirected to the Childhood Bereavement Network's online directory of local and national 'open access' services.

Childhood Bereavement Network Directory

What Do Others Say

Everyone who comes to a workshop will have a different experience but here is what it was like for one girl...

My Slide Away Workshop ExperienceWritten by a 15 year old girl who attended a Slide Away workshop. 

"Before I attended a Slide Away workshop I was really apprehensive and unsure whether or not I wanted to go. My Mum convinced me that I should at least go and see what it was like and said that if I didn’t feel it was right for me I didn’t have to finish the workshop. My Mum went to the parent’s workshop and said that everyone was really friendly and assured me that I would enjoy the activities.

I went along the next morning feeling really scared and when I arrived saw that everyone else looked as nervous as me. When everyone had arrived I soon started to feel calm. I’ve always been very closed off and unwilling to talk about my feelings and about my loss and went with the intention of not sharing much about myself. However, I found that with the influence of the group I was happy to tell my story. Having other people with similar situations share things about themselves made me feel comfortable and not like the spot light was on me. I had tried counselling in the past but it didn’t suit me. I found that speaking with the group was a far better way for me to talk about things and being with people more my age and with similar experiences made me feel able to talk.

The activities were really good as they made me think really hard about good times, making me remember so many more happy memories than I could previously think of. It also made me have a serious think about what I could do to help myself and what others around me could do for me. Something that I found particularly helpful about Slide Away was that I got to meet people who had suffered in a similar way to me. Meeting these people helped me to see that I was not alone and I was able to make friends with people that could relate with me in a way my other friends couldn’t.

After the first day I felt happy to back as my group had really bonded and everyone involved made me feel at home and completely comfortable. The atmosphere and the people at the workshop made me feel confident and supported so that I could think about what had happened and embrace my feelings.

I’m really glad that I went to the workshop as I feel that it really benefited me. It also gave my mum peace of mind as she could see that it had helped me. I’ve also been able to get involved with other events with Slide Away which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely recommend Slide Away."

I am a Chaplain at St Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone and, over the past four years, have been privileged to escort several of our students on Slide Away Workshops.

Slide Away’s thorough and very professional preparation for, and presentation, of these courses cannot be over-emphasised. A relaxed and supportive atmosphere is created where young people are able to begin to come to terms with their feelings arising from someone very close to them having died. The various activities undertaken are well chosen and sufficiently flexible to accommodate individual students of mixed age and ability. The young people are given the opportunity and help to create some items and mementos to take home to help them with their memories of their loved ones. A lot of individual feeling and pride goes into making these and the students also have a lot of fun.

One thing that cannot be anticipated but, in my experience invariably comes about, is the support the young people give to and gain from each other, which is very special to see. It is not unusual for ongoing friendships and, therefore, continuing mutual support to arise among the youngsters.

I consider Slide Away Workshops invaluable in assisting students to come to terms with close bereavement as they create a friendly and caring environment for young people to be given the individual attention and time they need to help them.

Joan Husband - February 2008