Bereaved families in the Melton area who are mourning the loss of a child are being urged to seek support from a charity set up specifically to help them.
The Bodie Hodges Foundation was launched because it was felt there was little help for families, outside the NHS, on how to cope with intense grief.
There are approximately 70 child deaths in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland every year.
And the foundation provides emotional support, activities and a retreat where they can relax to families who have been affecte.
It has now appointed Nicola Rhodes on a three-year, full-time position, as lead child and family bereavement practitioner.
She said: “I am so delighted to be a part of this incredible foundation.
“The passion that the team have to support other families is contagious and I’m honoured to be filling this much needed position for our county.
“My focus will be supporting the whole family following their bereavement, this work will encompass couples as sadly statistics do show that 80 per cent of marriages don’t survive such experiences.
“Emotional support for siblings will also be part of what’s offered as the impact of the loss of a brother or sister is immeasurable and early intervention to help children and young people understand their feelings of grief is so important.”
Nicola, who worked for 18 years with the Diana Children’s Community Service, in pre and post bereavement support, added: “The sessions with the family can include things like being a friendly face in the early days, talking through their grief, offering activities that help families reflect and remember together, like memory making activities, creative activities and one-to-one emotional support sessions.
‘The success of this role will largely come down to educating those first in line, that the support is available so that the information can be passed on to grieving families.”
The charity was started by Nick and Donna Hodges, who felt there was a lack of support for families of a bereaved child after their 10-month-old son, Bodie, died following a choking accident.
Mrs Hodges, who is bereavement project manager of the foundation, said: “It’s one of those things that you just wouldn’t know until you need it.
“It’s not until a tragic event occurs that you are made to realise the need there is for more support for bereaved families.
“As fantastic as the NHS are, once you leave the hospital there isn’t anybody available to provide that immediate support.
“You have to find your own way.
“As a family we were supported by The Laura Centre, but this was much further down the line.”
Go online at www.bodiehodgesfoundation.co.uk to find out more about the charity, or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07887 745850.