Winston's Wish

A grief support programme for children bereaved through suicide

This project works with children from across the UK who are aged 6-18 and have been bereaved through suicide. The aim of the project is to help children to understand and positively manage their grief, enabling them to move forward with their life and reach their true potential. The project also works with the adults who are supporting the child to ensure a consistent network of support throughout the child’s home and school life.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1061359)




  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



At the heart of the suicide grief support programme are our residential weekends, which offer mix of therapeutic and outdoor activities. Here children can meet others in similar situations and share their experiences, more fully express their feelings and develop a deeper understanding of grief and their journey through it. We also run a simultaneous, but non-residential, weekend for parents and carers (at a separate venue) to help them better understand their child’s grief and resulting behaviour. Whilst the residential group help at ‘Camp Winston’ will only take a weekend to carry out there is a lot of additional work needed to make the intervention successful. Typically, our Senior Practitioners will directly support a family over a period of at least 10 months, this will include: • Initial referral through our Helpline and ongoing telephone support • Individual and group face-to-face work at our centre and in the family home • Follow up sessions to monitor progress and respond to any new issues that have arisen • Access to our interactive website • Consultations with teachers and social workers • The resources needed to support these activities e.g. publications and craft materials Families are welcome to contact us for advice and support at any point in the future. Why is this project needed? In the UK, on average, someone takes their own life every 80 minutes. Many of these will be parents or siblings of children who are left overwhelmed and bewildered by what has happened. Research has found that if childhood grief is not given an appropriate outlet it can have a lasting negative effect on the child’s emotional well-being and lead to a variety of short and long-term problems. For example, bereaved children are more likely to experience long-term mental health problems. They are also more at risk of substance abuse, violent behaviour, school exclusion, academic underachievement, teenage pregnancy, bullying and criminal activity. As you can imagine, bereavement through suicide can be particularly difficult for children to understand and come to terms with – they are often left with so many unanswered questions and frequently believe that they caused the person to take their own life. By giving them the opportunity to meet others with similar experiences, to talk about the person who has died and ask the questions the feel unable to ask their family or friends; we intend to help them find positive ways to grieve and grow into resilient adults. What impact does the project make? What is a tragedy in childhood can shadow adulthood unless the right support is available when it is most needed. By providing professional support to children who are at a very vulnerable stage in their life and equip the adults around them with the tools to support them we will reduce the risk of associated health and behavioural problems that would be likely to pursue them throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Interacting with peers in similar situations helps to decrease the isolation often felt by bereaved children and their families; this project helps to normalise their experiences and brings the relief of knowing that they are not the only person to feel this way. Through engaging children in practical and creative activities that require teamwork we will help to build their confidence and self-esteem. It costs £61,392 to deliver this programme to 24 children and their families.