1. ITV Report

Cambridge child bereavement charity's plea for funding as demand increases

The Cambridge charity offers free counselling to bereaved children. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be devastating but what if you are just a child?

During Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, its been revealed that one in 29 children have lost a parent or sibling – that’s the equivalent of a child in every classroom.

The charity Stars in Cambridge, offers free counselling to young people up to the age of 25, who've lost family members.

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A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK

Stars was founded 12 years ago by staff in critical care at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge.

It's run by a small team of volunteers and relies on donations to stay open.

Two hundred children are referred to the charity every year.

Lauren Bailey, who's 17, is being supported by Stars after losing her father to terminal cancer in February.

Lauren Bailey and her father Gavin Credit: .

My nan came off the phone and you can tell when something really is not right and she said "I am really sorry Lauren your Dad has passed away."

The day before I had been at the hospice and spent the entire evening with him (Lauren's father) and said to him "I'll come and see you tomorrow" and I didn't, which was horrible.

– Lauren Bailey
Lauren Bailey, 17, got support from Stars. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The councillors at Stars help children by encouraging them to express their emotions through creative play.

Pre and post bereavement counselling is offered in an environment that is comfortable for the young person, such as their school, work or in the charity's 'Den'.

But with demand for its service increasing, Stars says it needs more funding to make sure it can help all those who need it.

We meet and support all the children and we don't turn anyone away.

We do need to work really hard to make sure that the service continues and that we can keep the very high quality specialists that we have.

The children who come to us are very vulnerable and very bewildered, so we are conscious that we need to keep the money coming in to be able to run the organisation.

– Anne Streather, Service Manager, Stars
Stars supporting young people in Cambridgeshire facing grief and dealing with loss Credit: ITV News Anglia

Advice and support on child bereavement: