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Our Pre Bereavement Support

What pre-bereavement support does Slide Away offer?


Our pre-bereavement support is for children and young people living with a family member with a life limiting illness.

We understand that each family's circumstances are different and so we adapt our support to meet their needs as much as possible. Before being offered support, the needs of every child are assessed so that appropriate support is given to meet their needs at the time. Slide Away’s pre-bereavement support is usually appropriate for children and young people who have a parent or sibling with a life-limiting illness.

As soon as a pre-bereavement referral is received, the family is contacted by a member of the Slide Away team. A face-to-face meeting with the parent or carer and the child is then arranged to put them at ease, help them understand what the group will be like and to answer any questions they may have. Before attending the group, the child will be offered an individual support session to focus on their unqiue needs and to enable their voice to be heard.

Our pre-bereavement group provides a safe and caring environment where children have time and space to express and understand their thoughts and feelings and also to:

    • Be listened to and understood
    • Meet with other young people in similar circumstances
    • To have fun
    • Find coping strategies and build their resilience
    • Have the opportunity to tell their story, if they want to.

Following the death, the child will be offered a further individual support session and the option to attend one further group session to say goodbye. The child will then automatically be offered a place at one of our Workshops.

Frequently asked questions


We understand that you or your child may have lots of questions about the pre-pereavement support sessions that you want to ask before they attend, and that they may be a little bit anxious about the session.

We hope that the information below will help.

Children will also have the opportunity to ask questions when they meet with one of the Slide Away team, either virtually or in person, before the session.

Please get in touch at any time if you have any other questions.

No. Unlike our Workshops and Memory Days, in addition to schools, referrals for pre-bereavement support are also accepted from other professionals supporting the family. These might include hospices, oncology departments and macmillan nurses. This is because we respect the family’s right to choose when they inform their school of their personal circumstances at such a difficult time, but we don’t want this to stand in the way of the children receiving the support they need. 

If you are a family member who can’t identify a professional to refer you, or if you would like to find out more about our pre-bereavement support, please get in touch at any time.

There are usually about eight to ten children or young people of a similar age at a pre-bereavement session and often they will have come from different schools. However, although it is unlikely that you will know each other, everyone understands why you are there and will be sensitive to how you are feeling.

There will also be adults there who are part of the Slide Away team and you will probably have met one of them before the session takes place. 

When you come to your first group session, you may feel a little bit nervous initially, but we all help each other to feel comfortable. We all remember our first time attending the sessions, and want to make you a part of the group as quickly as possible.  All the other young people are there because they know someone who is very ill too, so they may be feeling the same as you. At the group we will undertake fun activities such as crafting, games or visits out.

In our pre-bereavement sessions we try to use activities that work for all ages. The things we talk about and the way we do them will be specially designed for you and the other children or young people in the group.

You won’t be forced to do anything that you don’t feel ready to do. All the activities are centred around having fun. 

You need only do and say what you feel comfortable with in our pre-bereavement sessions. You may find that as you get to know the others you feel more ready to talk, but there will be absolutely no pressure from anyone, at any time, to do or say anything you are not comfortable with.

You can wear any clothes that you feel comfortable in to a Slide Away session. Make sure you don't mind them getting a bit messy! You don't need to wear your school uniform. 

Some members of the Slide Away team have had someone very close and special die. Most will have had someone in their life die. All of the adults are kind and caring, and they are good listeners if you want to talk.