It’s a very sad fact that up until now, there has been little support for families bereaved of a child outside of the NHS across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
In 2012, the Hodge’s family entered a devastating chapter in their life, when their 10-month old son, Bodie, died following a choking accident. It was through this heart-wrenching experience that it became clear to Nick and Donna Hodges, Bodie’s parents, that there was a lack of support for families bereaved of a child.
Donna Hodges, Bodie’s Mother and Bereavement Project Manager of the foundation has said: “It’s one of those things that you just wouldn’t know until you need it. It’s not until a tragic event occurs that you are made to realise the need there is for more support for bereaved families. As fantastic as the NHS are, once you leave the hospital there isn’t anybody available to provide that immediate support. You have to find your own way. As a family we were supported by The Laura Centre, but this was much further down the line.”
The foundation has already made a huge impact on the region in the last 6 years and it’s with a continued passion and determination that the Bodie Hodges Foundation have made the decision to self-fund an initial 3 year full time position of a Lead Child and Family Bereavement Practitioner, and are delighted to welcome Nicola Rhodes, who joined the team in September.
Nicola’s role will essentially be to offer support and comfort to bereaved families from day 1, through to around a year after the bereavement. There are very sadly, approximately 70 child deaths in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland a year, of which Nicola is hoping to work with as many as is physically possible.
Nicola has said: “I am so delighted to be a part of this incredible foundation. The passion that the team have to support other families is contagious and I’m honored to be filling this much needed position for our county.”
“My focus will be supporting the whole family following their bereavement, this work will encompass couples as sadly statistics do show that 80% of marriages don’t survive such experiences. Emotional support for siblings will also be part of what’s offered as the impact of the loss of a brother or sister is immeasurable and early intervention to help children and young people understand their feelings of grief is so important.”
“The sessions with the family can include things like being a friendly face in the early days, talking through their grief, offering activities that help families reflect and remember together, like memory making activities, creative activities and one-to-one emotional support sessions.
‘The success of this role will largely come down to educating those first in line, that the support is available so that the information can be passed on to grieving families. We need the news to spread far and wide across our region.”
Nicola is well placed to make this position a huge success, having spent 18 impactful years working with the Diana Children’s Community Service, in pre and post bereavement support.
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