Local charity, Treetops Hospice Care, is celebrating after hearing they will be receiving £30,000 of Children In Need funding towards their bereavement counselling service for children and young people.

The Counselling and Emotional Support Service is available to children aged 6yrs to 17yrs, and their families, registered with a GP practice in Derby city or Southern Derbyshire, who have experienced any type of bereavement, including unexpected and traumatic deaths such as suicide and accidents.

It was loss like you can’t imagine.

Toby, 17yrs, from Derby, received support from Treetops after his older brother Ed died:

“Ed was my soul mate, my best friend. I loved him to bits. It was such an unimaginable shock. It was loss like you can’t imagine.

“You only start feeling it when you miss the little things that used to happen. It’s only when that sense of little loss combines with that sense of huge, impactful loss that it really starts sinking in. It’s only when you realise he’s not downstairs watching TV or outside on his bike or strumming his guitar. All those little things, that’s when you start to feel it properly.”

Without Treetops I definitely, definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today

Toby was just fourteen years old when his brother died:

“It does take away that childhood. You go from being an innocent fourteen year old into immediately… not being a man in terms of your physical stature but being a man in how you have to go through every single day. Suddenly a whole weight of responsibility is thrown on you.

“The hardest bit was I could not relate to people anymore. My kind of problem was completely different to theirs. I think that’s where the counselling service probably helped me the most – just being able to control my outward emotions. That was the biggest turning point for me in terms of getting back on track and that was only possible with the counselling.

“Without Treetops I definitely, definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be brave enough to be here right now. I’d be living a life through anger – that’s not a life you should be living as a seventeen year old. I was able to look at myself and think ‘you’ve got a future again now. You can be Toby again’. And that is why counselling and the services that Jules and her team provide are so, so important”

Make a huge difference to young lives

The funding will support the senior families counsellor post, currently held by Jules Kirk, who was Toby’s counsellor.

Jules explained more:

“This funding will help us work with more children and young people who like Toby have been bereaved, so we can support them through their grief processes and help them move forward positively which will make a huge difference to their young lives.”

“We’re so pleased to receive the funding again over three years – it means that by 2020 we will have received a decade’s support from Children in Need and I think this really reflects the quality they see in the service we provide.

“Last year we supported over 150 bereaved children and young people and with this funding we can continue to provide this invaluable service locally.”

Toby was featured in a series of interviews on BBC Radio Derby about Children in Need-funded charities. Listen to Toby’s full interview here.

Treetops Hospice Care services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.