Sandy Bear

February 2022

Janine Lewis appointed new Assistant Bereavement Practitioner at Sandy Bear


Janine Lewis has recently joined the team at Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity as a new Assistant Bereavement Practitioner. Janine has joined at vital time to help with the increased demand and expansion of the charity. Janine will be working directly with children, young people and their families who are suffering the bereavement of a loved one, particularly those aged 0-5 years.

Prior to her new role, Janine was a Community Nursery Nurse within the Hywel Dda Health Board. Janine supported children and families with any issues which they had – particularly around developmental issues, emotional health and wellbeing, behaviour and parenting. She also has lots of experience of working with children with additional learning needs as well as working with bereaved children, young people and families. This experience helped her within her previous volunteering and trustee role at Sandy Bear which began in 2006. 

The role of Assistant Bereavement Practitioner has been newly created following a successful funding application to The National Lottery Community Fund upon completion of the Sandy Cubs Pilot in 2021. Sandy Bear have received £100,000 to use over three years, for staff resources, to be able to deliver the new service for children 5 years and under and to continue the expansion of the current support for children ages 6-11 years old.

Janine says “I am extremely happy to have joined Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity. I have worked with children, young people and families for the majority of my career. I am really excited to be able to continue to support children and young people through their bereavement journeys after doing it for a very long time as part of my volunteer role.”

Anita and Karen, Clinical Leads, say “We are thrilled to have appointed Janine within this position. She has supported us for several years through helping us set up as a charity and to pilot the Sandy Cubs Support Group. She will be a valued member to our team. We would also like to thank The National Lottery Community Fund, and the players of The National Lottery, who have funded this post so that we can support the increasing demand for children’s bereavement support in Pembrokeshire.”

Robert Roffe, Head of the Mid and West Wales region at The National Lottery Community Fund, says “We are proud to support Sandy Bear to expand its service and help more children, young people and their families in Pembrokeshire. National Lottery players raise over £30 million for good causes each week across the UK. Projects like this show how much of a difference that money makes to support people and communities to thrive.”


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Why I volunteer – Lee’s story


Lee became a volunteer for Sandy Bear following a recruitment drive when the charity moved to its new home in Milford Haven and completed her initial training in 2020 before the pandemic struck. Lee’s new volunteer venture was put on hold until summer 2021.

Lee, an experienced, retired secondary school teacher, talks openly about why she became a volunteer at Sandy Bear.

“My first connection with Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity came when one of my daughters was previously supported by the service following the death of my niece. The invaluable support left a lasting impression on me which was then reinforced through my career in education. I came across many children who needed the support from the charity who had suffered a bereavement and I was one of the people who had to refer pupils.”

Lee suffered an illness at the end of her career and after a while, she wanted to be able to help the charity which had helped both her and her daughter.

“During my training, I was impressed by the emphasis the was placed on all volunteers taking part in the activities that the children and families undertake during the group sessions. We have to speak openly about our own bereavement experiences which for me still, is still an important part of my grief process as it allows me to talk about how I am feeling.”

Lee has been able to develop within her volunteer role and has received training to work within the parents/carers support groups as well as being able to observe one-to-one appointments, contacting families by phone, analysing evaluation data as well as keeping the garden at Sandy Bear House beautiful and tidy for the children to use in the warmer months.

“I am privileged to see first-hand the impact that Sandy Bear has in helping children and their families to cope with their grief. Whilst I’ll continue to offer my support where I can, I receive a great deal in return. Anita and Karen, the co-founders, are such an inspiration and becoming a member of the Sandy Bear family has had a huge positive impact on my own mental wellbeing and I feel truly humbled to work with the children and families.”

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Sandy Bear named as Vincent Davies’ Charity of the Year

Staff at Vincent Davies have voted Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity their official Charity of the Year Partnership for 2022. The employees of Vincent Davies hold a vote each year for a local charity to receive financial support.

Over the last two years, Vincent Davies were able to raise £10,000 for their previous partnership, Alzheimer’s Society UK. These funds came from a range of activities including bake sales, collection boxes and their singing penguins.

Ceri Crichton, Charity Development Lead at Sandy Bear, is excited for this partnership, saying “We are very thankful to the Vincent Davies team for voting us their charity partner. Our partnership will help more vulnerable bereaved toddlers, children, and teenagers, access much needed professional support to help them towards a more positive future, following the death of an important person in their lives. Children are sometimes the ‘forgotten mourners’, and we have witnessed first-hand the harmful effects of unchecked bereavement, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, on children, young people and families in our county. That is why we are particularly grateful to our partners, like Vincent Davies, who enable us to continue our support for children and teenagers”

Sarah John, Joint Managing Director at Vincent Davies says, “We are delighted to be supporting such a valuable and local charity here in Pembrokeshire.  Our aim is to work closely with Sandy Bear to raise as much money as possible to help support bereaved children in our community.  We’re looking forward to lots of exciting fundraising events that will involve the team at Vincent Davies and our customers, who are always keen to support of charity of the year.”

The support from the colleagues at Vincent Davies, and the general public, will change the lives of many families who are suffering a significant bereavement and will help vulnerable children and teenagers in Pembrokeshire to receive much needed support through their grief journey

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