Alison Thomas has worked at Cruse Bereavement Care for almost 14 years and is the Children and Young People’s Service and Development Manager in Wales. To mark the charity’s 60th anniversary she is hoping to run a National Children and Young People Conference in central Wales.
Alison says: “I was attracted to the charity for a number of different reasons. My mum died when I was young, she was 35 years-old when she died. I had spent five years as a drugs counsellor and had previously managed a youth service in a previous role so when this position was advertised almost 14 years ago I was immediately drawn to Cruse.
"I am the Children and Young Peoples Service and Development Manager in Wales. This includes delivering bereavement support services to children and young people up to the age of 25 throughout Wales. The service also provides education and training on the ‘Impact of Bereavement on Children and Young People’ so that those supporting bereaved children and young people in schools etc. are better able to help them.
“I work alongside a number of wonderful volunteers supporting bereaved children and young people and last year in Wales (2018/19) those volunteers supported over 900 bereaved children and young people, which is amazing.
“The people who work within the organisation, both volunteers and staff, are dedicated and committed to helping bereaved people cope with their loss and it is inspirational to see the positive changes the support we give makes to the lives of children and young people.
“I have many memorable moments whilst working at Cruse, but the one which always makes me smile is the memory of a residential weekend we organised in partnership with a local authority. A DVD was produced from the weekend called ‘Remembering’. The weekend demonstrated the power of peer support and how amazing and brave the young people who contributed to it are. One young lady who took part in this residential went on to become an ambassador for Cruse and represent us at an event in Welsh Government.
“To mark our 60th anniversary year I am hoping to run a National Children and Young People Conference in central Wales. Cruse has achieved a lot over the last six decades and has put the importance of bereavement support on the agenda. This has helped to change attitudes by recognising the impact of bereavement on children and young people who are sometimes the forgotten mourners.
“Over the years I have seen attitudes change and great inroads made with provision of service and Cruse is assisting more and more bereaved people year on year. The organisation has been a beacon of light for many people and continues to grow putting ‘Bereaved People First.’”
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