WINDMILLS - ACUTE BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE IN STAFFORDSHIRE

RCN 1187408, Stoke-on-Trent

To preserve and protect the physical, emotional and mental health of Children & Young People when someone significant in their life is dying or has died, by providing bespoke, focused and supportive acute bereavement care.Windmills differs from any other Child Bereavement Charity as it solely focuses on supporting Children (0-24 years) through the acute dying process and after death has occurred. Windmills differs from any other Child Bereavement Charity as it solely focuses on supporting Children and Young People through the acute dying process and up to a few months after the death has occurred. We aim to normalise feelings of grief, aid a child/young person's understanding of death and provide memories for them that last a lifetime. We specialise in getting involved as soon as possible when a terminal diagnosis has been received - whether that is due to illness (for example - Cancer, respiratory/heart conditions, life limiting disease) injury (for example - RTC, murder, suicide) or any other cause. We can support families or healthcare professionals alike through the ‘breaking bad news’ conversations or even deliver them on your behalf. Continued support will be made available following the death too.

WINDMILLS - ACUTE BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE IN STAFFORDSHIRE organisation logo

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Total raised so far £5,935

Gift Aid + est. £384.75


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WINDMILLS - ACUTE BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE IN STAFFORDSHIRE

We could talk to you all day long about what Windmills is, does and stands for - we are so very proud of what we have achieved so far! - however, we feel the words of one of our 'Windmills' families speaks volumes on our behalf. So, please find below a message from the Daddy of a 4yr old who we supported through the sudden death of her Mummy:

Windmills were there for Sienna and I at the most vulnerable time any parent or child can imagine. There is no way to prepare yourself for the moments and hours that come with sudden loss and grief. It is hard enough to keep your own mind together and find a way to put one foot in front of the other. It is beyond any kind of normal comprehension to my understanding that also in those moments, as a parent. somehow you need to find a way to tell your 4-year-old daughter that Mummy isn’t coming home. Aside from everything else in our lives that we have dealt with and continue to deal with since Chloe died, I will always remember that moment with such devastation, fear and isolation. Zara found me in the hospital waiting room and told me two things. Firstly, that she had lost a parent at the same age as Sienna and secondly that she knew what to do next. She didn’t bull sh*t me. She told me there is nothing she could do to make this any easier and what is about to happen is the worst thing anyone could be expected to do. But she said she knew what to do... and to just concentrate on getting Sienna to the hospital safely. She would then walk me through it. Every step of the way. And she did. Zara was right. Nothing can make such a horrendous and tragic thing any better, or any easier. But Windmills were there for me in that moment, in a way that I don’t think anyone emotionally connected to Chloe, Sienna and I could be. That mattered to me more than I can say and more than I even realised at the time. In the days, and weeks that followed, and as I started to try to understand what had happened, there is the small matter of fact that life carries on around you. I have a 4-year-old daughter who is at the foot of the bed at 6.30am wanting breakfast and to play. I have a career. I have a home to run, and I have myself to look after...

Windmills are the ‘bridge’. They can’t numb the pain; they can’t make things ‘go away’. They can’t help with what has happened and they can’t help you with the rest of your life and how to navigate being the author of what happens next. What they can do is offer someone at their most desperate time, a little bridge between the two. A way to step from despair to having a little structure back in your life to enable you to start the process to rebuild. I am lucky in that I have the most amazing family and group of friends who helped me. In addition to that, Zara and Leeanne would come over in those early weeks to just spend time with Sienna and make her laugh, whilst I went shopping, did some work or just took half an hour to put my head back on my shoulders. They gave me that little bit of respite to enable me to claw my way back up from floor and look to stand on my own two feet again.  

I will always be forever grateful for Windmills. For Zara and Leeanne’s compassion, strength & humour. They are a tonic in the most difficult of times and I am so proud of them for what they have achieved over the last couple of years to grow the charity in the way they have. 

Please support Windmills in any way you can.

Thank you. AP

Just £380 will ensure that each child will receive a lasting memory box, special keepsakes and craft activities to use in our one to one support sessions.

We couldn't resist adding our own little bit about us and Windmills too - 

To introduce ourselves, we are Leeanne and Zara - we met whilst working together as Specialist Nurses on Intensive Care at a local hospital. Between us we have over 40 years nursing experience and although we only met 6 years ago our career pathways have always been focused around end of life care. We were always aware that traditionally, children and young people were shielded from the realities of death and dying and we were passionate about changing this.

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Over time, within our nursing roles we supported changes in practice for our local hospital, however this wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to make a difference to all children and young people who sadly had to face losing a loved one, so made the decision to explore how we could best achieve this.

So...Windmills was officially born in February 2020.

Windmills differs from any other Child Bereavement Charity as it solely focuses on supporting Children and Young People leading up to the death of a loved one, when the death is occurring and up to several months after the death has occurred. We are able to support all causes of death including, illness, trauma, murder & suicide and are available 24hours a day to attend the location where our services are needed. In the first instance we actively advocate the inclusion of children & Young people within the death process, support them through or even deliver the breaking bad news conversations and plan a bespoke programme of support.

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We openly discuss death to aid understanding, promote exploration of death as a concept and normalise common emotions as it is experienced very individually, based on multiple factors such as culture, religion, prior experience, fear and uncertainty. As practising registered nurses, we are able to assist with explaining a diagnosis or other medical terminology which may cloud understanding. This is fundamental going forward for our children & young people who will, due to age, among other factors, struggle with the permanency of death.

Memory making is a key part of what we do during the first few sessions with our families - when someone dies, we all worry that we will lose our memories of our loved one - this is no different for a child or young person. By gathering and saving special memories a child/young person can go back and reconnect with those memories - happy or sad - when they are ready.

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Whilst we are working with our children & young people we talk about what their loved one may have enjoyed, what they may have said, how they looked or their plans that are no longer able to be fulfilled. By Windmills openly talking about their loved one, our children & young people learn that it is okay to include the memory of their loved one into everyday conversations rather than waiting for permission or this becoming a trauma. Parents or other caregivers feel far more comfortable acknowledging the deceased once they witness first-hand the joy of a memory which a child and young person holds so dearly. The family gradually becomes united in their grief rather than it being the elephant in the room. This continued acknowledgement allows memories to be kept alive and promotes positive grieving for the whole family not only immediately post death but ongoing for life.

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Jack Colman
10th February 2024 at 1:23pm

Smash it Mike! X

Emily Newton
10th February 2024 at 7:58am

Woooo go Mike!! Em & James xx

Sam and Georgie
9th February 2024 at 10:37pm

Best of luck!!

James and Niamh
9th February 2024 at 9:45pm

Best of luck bro x

Gillian Hughes
9th February 2024 at 8:28pm

Good luck Mike 🏃🏼🏃🏼xx

David Coxhead
9th February 2024 at 8:25pm

Smash it brother xx

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