Sandy Bear

Sandy Bear and author Jess Childs join forces to support bereaved young people

Jess Childs

Sandy Bear and children’s author Jess Childs, who writes about ‘big issues for little people’ have joined forces to support increasing numbers of young people affected by bereavement.

Visitors to the Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity website can now access a virtual reading of Jess Childs’ picture book, Ivy and the Rock, read by the author herself – the video is below this article.

The free resource is the result of a new partnership which came about after Jess published the book based on her own experiences of love and loss, and as increased numbers of children continue facing bereavement in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jess, whose mother Olwen died in November after her cancer treatment was delayed by the first UK lockdown and who then also tested positive for Covid, said: “My two children have lost a Grandma they adored during this pandemic, as well as a much-loved Great Grandmother after she also contracted the virus and sadly died in January.”

“We are just one of hundreds of thousands of families in the UK that have had to try and cope with the loss of a loved one whilst also trying to explain that loss to small children whose lives have already changed significantly as a result of the pandemic,” Jess added.

“So, I’m absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity by Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity to try and support others through the sharing of Ivy and the Rock, which is a colourful, age appropriate story looking at love and loss in an honest, yet child friendly way.”

With more than 120,000 deaths connected to Covid-19 in the UK alone since the pandemic began, services supporting families in grief have been busier than ever, with referrals to Sandy Bear Children’s Charity rising significantly within a similar timeframe.

Anita Hicks, Clinical Lead at Sandy Bear Children’s Charity said: “We are excited to be collaborating with Jess following the launch of Ivy and the Rock. We know that conversations about death with children can be challenging and this book provides a good starting point to have those difficult conversations. Our approach is always to be honest with children about the death of a loved one in an age-appropriate way.”

Sandy Bear Children’s Charity runs bereavement groups and other support services for younger children, teenagers, parents, guardians and carers, as well as professionals working with bereaved children. It is also launching a ‘Sandy Cubs’ group to support parents telling very young children that a loved one has passed away, among other new services, too.