SeeSaw was founded in 2000 when it was recognised that children as well as adults grieve the loss of a loved one and could benefit from specialist support. Ann Couldrick, who had founded the adult bereavement service at Sobell House Hospice with Dr Marilyn Relf, held consultations with professionals in the fields of health, education and social care, and spoke with bereaved adults and children to find out whether a child bereavement service was needed in Oxfordshire.
The results clearly showed that a grief support service for children and young people was needed.
With the support of child psychiatrist Dr Gillian Forrest, SeeSaw was registered as a charity in 1999 and we began working with children in 2000. SeeSaw was staffed with professionals who had expertise in child grief management as well as the ability to train other adults to support children.
SeeSaw provides support for individuals when a parent or sibling has died. We pioneered the recruitment and training of a team of support workers to provide one-to-one sessions with children and young people in their own home and out of school time.
SeeSaw also recognised the needs of bereaved children in the school setting and appointed a specialist practitioner to support school staff. Lesley Duff currently works in this capacity and since 2000 SeeSaw has been involved with over 85% of Oxfordshire schools. When there has been a sudden death of a pupil or member of staff we can be there in the school the same day and help head teachers manage situations that have a massive impact on the whole school community.
In 2002, Macmillan Cancer Support funded a pioneering full-time post to work alongside children and families when a parent or sibling is dying. Kathy Moore, a former CLIC Sargent social worker, has run the Pre-bereavement service since then. Kathy often works with her dog a yellow Labrador called Cindy.
In 2006, Jenny Armstrong was appointed as Children and Families Practitioner with special responsibility for our team of Volunteer Support Workers.
As a registered charity, SeeSaw relies on its own fundraising for over 85% of its grief support costs. The cost of running the service is approximately £315,000 a year for which we depend on widespread support from individuals, local communities, businesses and trusts.
Here is a short video about our work - we hope you enjoy watching it. Our thanks go to the many friends and supporters who make our work possible.