How Slide Away Began
I formed the idea of setting up a service for bereaved children in 2002 and since then I have been asked many times why and how my family set up the charity and what is the meaning behind the name ‘Slide Away’. I could at this point provide numerous facts, figures and statistics, all of which would provide evidence for the need to support bereaved children. However, Slide Away was not founded on the basis of national research and statistics, but from the very personal experience of my family.
In September 2001, my precious son Daniel was killed in a road accident. My training as an Educational Psychologist had provided me with the theory, but nothing in my life had prepared me for the pain of grief. When I eventually returned to work after a period of compassionate leave, I received a letter from one of our local secondary schools requesting support for a group of teenagers displaying a range of difficulties related to learning, behaviour, problems with peers and loss of motivation. All of these pupils had experienced at least one significant bereavement. I worked with this group over a number of weeks and the seed of setting up a bereavement support service for young people was sown. I had another opportunity to work with a group of bereaved children in a primary school and, with the support of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, provided this group with a range of creative activities based on the Winston’s Wish publication Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine.
In March 2003, my husband Terry and I had a long awaited appointment with Winston’s Wish to get advice on how we could set up a similar service. We were totally overwhelmed by the organisation - how on earth did we think that we could ever get anything off the ground which came remotely close to calling itself a child bereavement service? Soon after this visit, we had the opportunity to visit See Saw, a bereavement charity based in Oxford and, as a result of their wonderful encouragement and sound advice, we contacted the Childhood Bereavement Network in London. Sarah Willis and Alison Penny from the CBN listened patiently to our ideas, were incredibly supportive and told us that we needed to set up a steering group to support us. We took their advice and our Steering Group went on to become Trustees once we obtained charitable status in 2005.
It has always been my belief that grief is a normal to reaction to losing someone that you love, but life can become very difficult when trying to manage all of the emotions that come as part of the grieving process.