Our weekend begins with our volunteers and a van full of resources arriving at Leeson House near Swanage ready for the weekend ahead.
The first job is to unload the van and start making beds for children and adults!
After preparing the rooms and going through the programme for the weekend, dinner is ready and then time for a final check and a relaxing evening before trying to get a good nights sleep!
We usually get an early start on Saturday morning and wait for the children to arrive. After 'goodbyes' to their parents and carers, the childen are given a Mosaic sweater and beautiful handmade quilt before being taken to their bedrooms to drop their bags and choose their beds.
Introductions done, the children start their teambuilding acitivites - archery, obstacle course, craftmaking and games.
By lunchtime, new friendships are made and after lunch each group spends time talking about the person they have come to remember and what happened. It is then time for more fun activities like football and 'hoola hooping'.
After dinner we hold our candle ceremony where everyone lights a candle and remembers their loved one. This is an emotional part of the weekend but children often tell us it is the most special part.
‘It is the first time I have cried since my dad died – it felt really good’
(15yr old boy after the candle ceremony, dad died 2 years ago)
The children and volunteers then take part in night orienteering before hot chocolate and bed.
Parachute games or aerobics kick off Sunday morning, followed by work on anger and feelings. After more fun activities and lunch, it's time for parents and carers to return and watch short presentations by the groups about their weekend.
During the weekend, the parents also meet on a separate site and talk about their concerns for their children, understand some behaviours are a normal reaction to the death of a loved one and get the chance to make new friends and share their experiences.
Every child we work with is invited to the weekend. Each weekend is funded by donations, fundraising and grants.
If you would like to find our more about volunteering or making a donation, please contact us.