GRIEVING parents in Warwickshire will have someone to turn to thanks to the efforts of a woman who tragically lost her baby boy in a car crash.
The charity Freddie’s Wish, founded by Charlotte Jolliffe after the death of 13 month-old son Freddie in 2014, is funding the area’s only specialist parental bereavement practitioner.
The organisation has teamed up with Child Bereavement UK (CBUK) to provide a specialist who will give advice and support to bereaved parents and families for two days a month.
Charlotte, from Rugby, said she couldn’t find any specialist support in the area after she lost Freddie.
She said: “I desperately sought help from other people who knew what this intense emotional and physical pain felt like, but there was no support locally.
“You really don’t want to be searching for help at this time, so we have managed to raise nearly £7,000 to fund a specialist parental bereavement practitioner that is employed by CBUK.”
Charlotte – who has won numerous awards for her fund-raising efforts – said the drop-in service would be available to Warwickshire residents at any stage of their ordeal.
“We understand grief isn’t linear,” she said. “At certain times, it can feel unmanageable again – like at anniversaries for example.
“There is going to be a lot of interest in this new service and we are continuing to raise more money so we can keep it going and even extend it.
“Bereavement doesn’t discriminate and that’s why we need to work harder to make sure people who are suffering get the right support quickly and without charge.
“It affects parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents – and we can’t keep burying our heads in the sand.”
Freddie’s Wish spreads awareness of the importance of supporting bereaved relatives. In just four years the charity has raised over £100,000, trained 450 adults in paediatric first aid, and delivered bereavement training to staff at 55 schools.
Charlotte said the charity’s focus this year was to get more businesses to back her cause, and to host its third Starlight Ball at Coombe Abbey in October.
She added: “There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about Freddie and what sort of little boy he would be.
“Thankfully, a little bit of him lives on with the charity and the difference we are making to the lives of parents.”
The new support service will be held on the first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month at Long Lawford Children’s Centre and Boughton Leigh Children’s Centre in Rugby.
Visit www.freddieswish.org or follow @freddies_wish on twitter for more information. Contact [email protected] to donate or get involved.