As part of a large family and parents ourselves of 4 young boys we know how important family is and when a family suffers any loss but particularly that of a much loved child, their grief can be overwhelming. We want to offer a place that parents and families can come and try to process their feelings about their loss.
Having lost our first child, a daughter, when she was just 18 hours old we know the feelings of pain, emptiness and utter devastation the loss of a child leaves with you. We were not offered any support from any counselling groups and relied heavily on the support from our family who were amazing.
Along with our parents and siblings, we hope to create a peaceful, relaxing retreat in woodland and meadowland where we can not only offer families the chance to come and explore nature and the outdoors but where we can have designated spots on our site that will be purely for recently bereaved parents and families who have lost a child. This would give them the opportunity to just spend some time together without any of the usual pressures of day to day life getting in the way. It would enable them to try and come to terms with their loss as a couple/family. Our aim would be to have a trained bereavement therapist available at set times to come and offer group or personal counselling sessions (completely optional) to help with ideas on how to manage their grief, particularly if they have young children who are struggling to understand the loss. Guests would be able to choose to participate in activities such as walking/hiking, cycling, fishing and woodland activities such as helping us to preserve the natural beauty of our site or they can simply sit in their private eco hut together.
Whilst a break like this would not heal the pain of their loss, it can help to show that there will still be moments of happiness as well as times of sadness and hopefully it will give families the chance to be hopeful of their future times of happiness.
Our accommodation will be made up of eco huts which will be made using sustainable materials and any power to them will be created through renewable sources such as wind, water or solar power. These huts will be equipped with eco toilets and showers.
The eco huts will have everything in them that guests will need for their break so all they'll need to bring is their clothes!
This is an example of the style of eco hut we hope to be putting on our site.
We will also have some glamping tents and an area where people will be able to bring along their own tents to pitch up and enjoy the area. Our camping pitches will also have access to eco toilets and showers powered by renewable sources.
What we will offer
On site we hope to be able to create 'wild' areas where we can leave nature to do what it does best and create a fabulous natural environment for both plants and wildlife. We will also add to any woodland with trees that are native to the area which will encourage the natural ecosystem and wildlife to the area creating an amazing space to relax and enjoy the sounds of the natural world.
We will be able to offer local schools and groups the chance to come and learn about the trees and plants that grow naturally on our land and also learn some skills in how to look after their environment and the plants and trees that grow there. This is also something that can be offered to our guests staying with us. This means that our retreat will be able to offer both relaxation and educational benefits to a wide range of people.
Our family plan also includes growing our own vegetables and having a small holding which will enable us to be as self-sufficient as possible. Should any of our guests like to get involved in any aspect of our working life on site they will be welcomed to join in and find out about how we are creating our space. We want to create a relaxed, friendly site where people will feel comfortable and hopefully we will be able to leave a positive impact on them.
To enable the guests that have come to us to benefit from the bereavement aspect, we will ensure that we have a set area for their eco huts so that they can enjoy the peace and tranquility of our site without having to be around any groups that happen to be taking part in our woodland classes or any other activities that may be taking place. Should the guests wish to mix with any other families or couples that are there for the same reason, we will have a communal space dedicated for this very reason close to their accommodation. This would also be the place where any group counselling sessions would take place. Private sessions could be in here or in the guests accommodation or even by taking a walk with the counsellor through the woodland.
We will work with local bereavement charities, groups and local hospitals to enable the bereaved families to be able to contact us. Through working with charities and child loss groups we will be offering breaks with us to bereaved families free of charge.
The money raised will be used to buy our site and then using personal funds from both ourselves and family members we will create a tranquil place that will blend into the natural environment and will be powered by renewable sources. By only creating a limited number of guest accommodations, we will be able to ensure that each guest has the space and peace to enjoy the environment whatever the reason they have come to stay with us.
Thank you in advance for helping us to create a sustainable, peaceful environment that can be enjoyed by all for many, many years.
Any support that can help us get closer to making this retreat a reality will be greatly appreciated. Updates on our progress will be given as and when they happen and we look forward to the day that we will be able to welcome the first families to try and heal a little on our retreat.
Thank you for reading about our dream!