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Assistant Bereavement Practitioner Posts at Sandy Bear

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We are delighted to share that we are recruiting for two part time Assistant Bereavement Practitioner posts.

There are two posts advertised, 22.5hrs and 30hrs  per week – click the links for full details and how to apply.

You can also find links to the adverts in English and Welsh under About > Work With Us> in the main menu at the top of the page.

Sandy Bear wins Above and Beyond Award

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In September, Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity was one of the 30 organisations nominated for a Above and Beyond Award through Connect Pembrokeshire. These awards were designed to celebrate voluntary and community groups and the incredible contribution they make to their communities.

The vote closed in October and Sandy Bear was informed that they were one of the four winners of the Above and Beyond Awards to receive £500. The money can be used by the winning organisations in any way they like – whether that be on the service or treating volunteers.

Since receiving the money, Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity have been invited to attend the PAVS Volunteer Awards on Thursday 9th December where the award will officially be presented. As a charity, Sandy Bear have chosen to use the money to treat the volunteers during the awards ceremony by holding a get together and a buffet to say thank you and celebrate the hard work they carry out with bereaved children, young people and their families in Pembrokeshire.

Ceri, the Charity Development Lead at Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity, says ‘We are delighted to have been nominated for the Above and Beyond Award and to receive the recognition of our hard work. We look forward to celebrating with our volunteers what we have achieved to show our appreciation of the work they carry out with our team and the support they give to bereaved children, young people and their families.’

Lee Hind, from PAVS says, “It was a pleasure to facilitate the Above and Beyond Awards. The way the awards were constructed means that those nominated and those who won were all chosen by the people of Pembrokeshire. This in turn means that hundreds of citizens voted for our winners and we, alongside them, are proud to continue to support Pembrokeshire’s fabulous voluntary groups”.

Sandy Bear supported by The Original Factory Shop

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This year, The Original Factory Shop in Milford Haven chose to support Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity as their local cause. The Original Factory Shop chooses a different charity or cause each year by collecting donations in store.

Donations are made via collection boxes in store, using a TOFS card when making a purchase or by buying a carrier bag. This year, the Milford Haven store raised £222.22 for Sandy Bear. The money will be used to buy books which go out to families and professionals for advice shortly following a bereavement. The cost of a book starts at £7.49 with the one used most often, ‘A Child’s Grief’ costing £9.99. This means that the donations from The Original Factory shop will help to support around 22 children, young people and their families.

“We’re really excited that we and our customers have helped to raise £222.22 for Sandy Bear, our chosen charity. What they do is invaluable for the local area and we’d like to think that this effort will go some small way to supporting their work in the community. As a company, this year, we have decided to support local charities in our towns, and in March we asked our customers through Facebook which charity they would like us to support.” Said Mandy Salter, Manager.

Hannah, Charity Coordinator at Sandy Bear, says “We are so grateful for the support we receive from our local community. Fundraisers like these allow us to continue to purchase books and resources for the bereaved children, young people and their families in Pembrokeshire.”

Sandy Bear’s Christmas Event at Folly Farm!

Folly Farm Event

Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity held their Christmas event at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo on Sunday 5th December. The children and their families saw the animals, visited Santa in his grotto and were given a stocking filled with goodies and an advent calendar.

The funding for this event came from the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust which was rolled over due to the pandemic putting a stop to the event last year. The charity is so grateful that such funds exist to allow the children and their families to enjoy days out together after suffering a bereavement.

The staff and volunteers of Sandy Bear would like to say a huge thank you to the Millennium Stadium Charitable trust as well as a big thank you to:

Folly Farm who accommodated the event.

To the generous donor of the stockings for the children.

To the Country Living Group for the donation of the advent calendars.

To Ysgol Harri Tudur for helping to fill the stockings with goodies for the children.

Pictured are the children form the first Sandy Cubs group along with staff and volunteers of Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity.

Off the radar: the children who lost a parent during Covid

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Bereavement Support Services in Pembrokeshire call for a better understanding of the challenges facing bereaved children during Children’s Grief Awareness Week (18 to 25 Nov)

Campaigners are calling for a renewed focus on the children who have lost their parent or carer during Covid-19, warning their plight has dwindled in the public consciousness as the pandemic desensitises us to loss and grief.

At least 10,000 children have been bereaved of a primary caregiver across the UK due to the pandemic according to research published in the Lancet[i] in July 2021. And over 50,000 children have had a parent, guardian or carer die from other causes over the last 20 months[ii].

As childhood bereavement support services across the country mark Children’s Grief Awareness Week (18-25 November), charities are asking the public to listen to bereaved children and young people and understand how important it is to them to receive support when they are grieving. Their words have been captured in a series of word clouds, with an overwhelming message of support, community and acceptance.

Anita Hicks, Clinical Lead and Co-Founder at Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity says. ‘It is vitally important to normalise grief in children and young people and to use appropriate words for them to clearly understand what has happened when a loved one has died. This enables them to tell the story from their own perspective and allows them to form happy memories which creates continuing bonds. Since the pandemic began, we have had up to 150 active referrals to support children and young people through their bereavements. During lockdown, we were able to offer remote sessions and have since been able to provide face-to-face assessments and peer support group for a range of ages, both children, young people and their parents/carers.’

‘The word cloud generated by the Childhood Bereavement Network highlights that there should not be a stigma around children developing an understanding about the death of their loved one and that this can be beneficial for a child or young person. The children and young people of Pembrokeshire get the chance to meet others like them at Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity and feel comfortable to speak openly within a secure environment.’

‘Since reopening our charity after the lockdown period, we have been able to run four children’s groups (6-11 years old), one Sandy Cubs group (0-5 years old) and one teenage group (12-18 years old) as well as one-to-one family support. Our staff and volunteers have worked extremely hard to ensure that everyone has received appropriate support. We are always looking for new volunteers to recruit in a number of different roles including admin support, working with children, young people and adults and fundraising events as what we do would not be possible without our volunteers.’

The charities have also asked bereaved children and young people what they would say to another bereaved child or young person who is not yet receiving specialist support. The sector is acutely aware that with the increase in bereavement, there are children out there who could benefit from being in a welcoming environment to support them around their grief. Again, children have endorsed the vital work offered by childhood bereavement practitioners.

Sandy Bear Takes Over Radio 2!

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As part of this year’s BBC Children in Need appeal,  Sandy Bear took over the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show this morning, with our children, volunteers and staff choosing the playlist for a whole hour!

Sandy Bear was previously awarded £53k by BBC Children in Need to increase staff resources within the charity. The money is being used to develop Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity to ensure that bereaved children are being supported.

Thank you to BBC Children in Need for being a major supporter of our charity and helping bereaved children, teenagers and their families!

Sandy Bear College Work Experience Collaboration

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In the last academic year, we were able to team with Pembrokeshire College, with their students, to take part in work experience for Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity.

Check out our Facebook page to see a video of the fantastic work the students carried out. The IT students worked extremely hard to put this video together.

You can also see the Pamper Packs and Story Sacks being made and the business database being put together.

We want to say a huge thank you to the students and staff at Pembrokeshire College for all of their hard work and we look forward to working with them again this year.

St Oswalds VA School raise £1900 for Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity

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On the 12th July, St Oswalds VA School ended the 2021 summer term in a colourful and extraordinary way. St Oswalds held their first ever Rainbow Run organised by the Friends of the school. More than £3800 was raised to be split between the school and Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity. It was a very much needed boost for the health and wellbeing of all the children that took part which will also remain as a lasting happy memory for them.

A crazy and colourful event saw pupils run laps of the school field whilst being showered with all the colours of the rainbow. Runners turned up in white t-shirts, colourful accessories and sunglasses to take part. It all kicked off with the part time children running at 11am in their school bubble.  The rest of the school followed in their class bubbles from 1.15pm.

Prizes for the highest fundraisers for individuals and families were donated by Co-op Kilgetty, Clerkenhill Adventure Farm and Frizbee Golf, Heatherton World of Activities, Tesco Pembroke Dock, Indie Burger, Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, Carew Castle, Andrew Rees’s Butchers, Tees R Us New Hedges and Coppet Hall Paddle Boarding.

Diane James, Chair of the Friends of the school, said, “To see the faces of the children made it all worthwhile.  Pupils had gathered sponsorship from their friends and family and all pulled together to raise in excess of £3800.  We are so grateful to everyone for the part they played on the day. From the generosity of our sponsors Station Garage Kilgetty, Snooty Fox Martletwy, Saundersfoot Rotary club and MJ Parry and Co Ltd of the event, as well as the many businesses who have donated prizes. We were overwhelmed with the amount raised and delighted to surpass our target. We would like to extend a huge thank you to staff, pupils and parents for their hard work during these most strange circumstances”.

Hannah Underwood, Charity Coordinator at Sandy Bear, says “We hold good relationships with the schools within Pembrokeshire and it is extremely rewarding when the children and families work together to raise such phenomenal amounts of money for our charity. I am glad the children of St Oswalds had a lot of fun holding this fundraising event and they should be extremely proud of themselves for how much they have raised. We greatly appreciate the support we receive from St Oswalds VA School.”

Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity Family Fun Day at Carew Castle

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Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity held their first public event, since Covid-19, on Sunday 29th August. The event ran at Carew Castle which was generously donated by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The day was described as a ‘success’ as the general public, and families of Sandy Bear, thoroughly enjoyed the day.

The family fun day aimed to raise the profile of the children’s bereavement charity as well as trying to raise vital funds for children’s resources. Children, families and young people were able to take part in various craft activities, in the marquee donated by Valero, whilst meeting the staff and volunteers of the charity.

Pembrokeshire’s emergency services and St John’s Ambulance Service attended the day to help educate the guests about the fantastic work they do within the county. There were also many joyful musical performances throughout the day with a choir performance from Artistic Licence Theatre Company, Tickle Tunes and Samba DOC and storytelling from the wonderful Owain Roach.

Hannah Underwood, Charity Coordinator at Sandy Bear says, ‘I am really pleased with how the event went. This was the first ever fundraising event I have organised and it was great to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. I would like to say a huge thank you to those who donated and who we worked with on the day. Mark Everson at Carew Castle supported me throughout the organisation and we also received sponsorship and support from the Port of Milford Haven and Dragon LNG, who are our Charity of the Year partnerships for 2021/2022. I am really looking forward to planning the next event.’

Mark Everson, from Carew Castle and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park says, ‘The Sandy Bear Family Fun Day at Carew went incredibly well. It was a privilege to welcome over 100 children and their families to the Castle. There were so many fun activities throughout the day that our visitors also enjoyed. We are so happy to support Sandy Bear, who are an inspirational charity, and we very much hope to work with them again next year.’

Photography: Gareth Davies

Dragon LNG Charity of the Year Fitness Fundraiser for Sandy Bear

The Social and Wellbeing Committee at Dragon LNG have launched a new exercise challenge to get the whole Dragon Team moving to raise money for Sandy Bear from 26th July until the 7th of October 2021.

The challenge is lasting for 80 days (11 weeks 3 days) and they are seeing how far they can get around the world – their target is 40,075 kms!

The challenge involves Dragon LNG staff and their families (including dogs) taking part in anything which keeps them active.

They have set up a Just Giving page for the fundraiser which can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dragonlng and they are bringing their dragons along with them to take pictures of their activities throughout the challenge. Their dragons have come from The Sheep Shop in Haverfordwest.

Hannah Underwood, Charity Coordinator at Sandy Bear, says ‘We are so pleased to have the support from Dragon LNG through their Charity of the Year partnership. I am really looking forward to hearing from the staff at Dragon LNG about how they are doing within their challenge and seeing the pictures of where they have been over the coming weeks. All of the staff at Dragon LNG have the support from us here at Sandy Bear. We wish them the best of luck.’

Alexis Fletcher, Dragon LNG’s Managing Director says ‘Sandy Bear was hugely popular in our annual selection for Charity of the Year.  It’s been inspiring to hear more about the impact that Karen and her team have in Pembrokeshire, so it’s no surprise that our challenge to get around the world in 80 days and raise money for Sandy Bear is gathering pace.’

The team at Dragon LNG have currently raised £270 of their £400 target.

Dragon LNG