New support service helping Bromsgrove and Redditch youngsters

Redditch Advertiser: SUPPORT SERVICE: Jenni Smith, Macmillan Children and Young People's Practitioner at the Primrose Hospice, with 11-year-old Lucy-Mae. Ref:s SUPPORT SERVICE: Jenni Smith, Macmillan Children and Young People's Practitioner at the Primrose Hospice, with 11-year-old Lucy-Mae. Ref:s

A NEW support service helping youngsters in Bromsgrove and Redditch going through a family health crisis has been launched.

Macmillan Cancer Support and the Primrose Hospice have joined forces to provide a brand new support service for children and young people, under the age of 18, going through a family health crisis.

Jenni Smith has been appointed as the first Macmillan Children and Young People's Practitioner at the Primrose Hospice, in St Godwald's Road, earlier this year.

She works with young people and their families to assess and support the emotional, social and practical needs of families, both pre and post bereavement.

The support works to open up communication between children and their parents about the grieving process, and providing support around healthy grieving and coping strategies.

"It is very exciting to be taking on this new, challenging, but very rewarding role," Jenni said.

"It’s often very difficult for children and young people to deal with their emotions when someone they love is diagnosed with cancer, it can make the future very uncertain for them and can feel quite isolating.

"I work with them so they don’t feel they have to face it alone and it’s great when I am told by a child or their parent that an activity we did or conversation we had has helped them."

Among the youngsters already benefiting from the new service is 11-year-old Lucy-Mae.

Her mum, Fiona, said: "I was diagnosed with cancer last year and my youngest daughter, Lucy-Mae, was really struggling with my diagnosis.

"She was having problems sleeping and felt like she didn’t want to talk to us because she’d feel guilty about burdening us with her feelings."

Lucy-Mae started speaking to Jenni in private about feelings, who helped her understand and to deal with them better.

"Jenni has helped Lucy-Mae so much, she has been so supportive.

"It is like a weight has been lifted - before she was consumed with guilt and sadness, and the activites and conversations with Jenni were the release that she needed.

"She is now so much more confident."

Jenni, on behalf of the service, has also been visiting Bromsgrove and Redditch schools to ensure children feel supported with bereavements.

For more details about the Macmillan Children and Young People's Practitioner call 01527 889799.

Anyone who needs support dealing with cancer can call Macmillan free, Monday to Friday, on 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk.

The Primrose Hospice's website can be found at macmillan.org.uk.

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