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Nathan with trees behindhim and autumnal leaves on the floor

The Haven

Step into the gorgeous, tranquil gardens of The Haven; a much loved and well-used charity in Lanarkshire show that does so many things, including helping children affected by life limiting illnesses or bereavement.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, like so many charities, it’s had to close its doors. Its group activity room would normally be a noisy, vibrant space filled with joy, but while the centres were closed the children who badly needed its services were still there.

One of them was eight-year-old Nathan. Nathan’s Dad had died of suicide. It was very difficult for both Nathan and his Mum, Jacqueline, going through one of the hardest things that can happen to someone.

When he lost his Dad Nathan was overwhelmed by grief. He reflects “I started to feel really lonely and sad and just felt like my world just destroyed.”

Mum, Jacqueline, noticed the change in his behaviour at home and at school, explaining “He was just a really sad little boy.” Growing concerns about his emotional wellbeing prompted her to reach out to Caroline at The Haven for support.

Nathan cuddling on the sofa with his Mum

Caroline is a Children Young People and Families Coordinator at The Haven, offering services thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need. Ordinarily these sessions would be face to face but following social distancing guidelines they instead took place online via video-call.

When she originally started speaking to Nathan, he was understandably reluctant to talk about his Dad, but Caroline found a way of building his trust and to work together to process his grief.

Over time, the sessions have helped to rebuild Nathan’s confidence. What’s more, they’ve helped him to talk about his loss and reflect on the memories he has of his Dad positively. Caroline says, “It’s been an absolute privilege to see the change and his growth.”

Mum, Jacqueline, continues, “The Haven and Caroline have really helped us as a family. It’s helped me and Nathan connect again. Talk again. Be able to laugh again.”

Grief effects everyone in very different ways. The extra layer of uncertainty caused by lockdown can compound those normal feelings of grief and loss. Thankfully, your donations mean children like Nathan are still able to get the support they need when they need it, whatever the circumstances.

Now, with Nathan progressing well at school, he and Jacqueline can look forward. Thanks to Caroline and The Haven, their relationship is even stronger and they can talk about the happy memories they shared with Nathan’s Dad without getting upset.

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