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A Cruse project in Northern Ireland for families who have experienced the death of a parent or child has supported 67 families, including 181 children and young people in the last four years.

The project, called ‘Get Together – Bereaved Families Discovering’ is a place where bereaved families can come together for free activity days and residentials. It is a partnership project between Cruse Bereavement Care and Corrymeela Community, and is funded by a five-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Supporting Families programme.

A recent evaluation report has found that 68 per cent of the children under the age of 12 who participated in the activities showed a reduction in isolation and an increase in their communication skills, which has led to positive well-being and self-confidence. It also found that 40 per cent of young people over 12 showed increased resilience and confidence by participating in peer support activities.

Key figures from the evaluation:
-    Over the last four years there were eight residentials and 10 activity days.
-    The project has supported 67 families so far
-    57 Volunteers were recruited and trained, investing a total of 7,776 hours
-    A total of 181 children and young people attended the activity days and residentials.

Each year in Northern Ireland, more than 28,000 children lose someone close to them to death; and more than 9,000 school-aged children here have lost a parent or sibling.

A parent who went on one of the residentials said:

“This weekend helped my family come closer again and be more open. It made me realise the smaller things like painting together are therapeutic, despite the mess! . . . to appreciate our home and know that we’re going to be okay.  I loved this experience for my family.”

To see Get Together’s latest film and find out more about the project, visit their website here. The Evaluation Report can be found at: https://www.cruse.org.uk/sites/default/files/default_images/pdf/Areas/Northern-Ireland/Get%20Together%20Evaluation%20Report%202018.pdf