Winston's Wish, the charity for bereaved children, runs residential weekends for children and young people aged 6 to 18, that is both challenging and fun.
The weekends involve practical and creative activities that encourage teamwork, building confidence and self-esteem. This sets the scene for the children to begin sharing their own stories, to untangle and express a range of feelings, increase their knowledge about death and to continue their individual journeys towards understanding their grief.
Working alongside professional staff and highly trained volunteers, children are given the opportunity to share their individual stories with others in their small group, gain information about what happened through a question-and-answer session with a doctor, take special time to remember the person who has died, explore safely some of the more challenging feelings and responses they may be experiencing and develop ways of looking to the future.
The residential weekend I photographed on Sunday was focused on children who had lost a parent through accident and illness. Although there was a lot fun, there was also lot of difficult moments as the children learnt to come to terms with their own grief. I spent four hours with them and found it pretty tough going at times; I lost my own Mum when I was 11 years old.
Some of the activities included making wishes to hang on the wishing tree, a parachute game, building towers using spaghetti and marshmallows, (blindfolded!) individual group work and clay throwing, which was great fun to photograph, (and I avoided having any clay hit me!!)
To view previous photo shoots with Winston's Wish please use the links below.
If you would like to find out more about Winston's Wish or would like to make a donation please visit their website at http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/.