Grieving children express feelings in an art exhibition

Children being cared for by Havens Hospices are displaying their work at an art exhibition in High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Chelmsford, as part of Children’s Grief Awareness Week.

The exhibition, comprising 30 pieces of artwork, explores the often-confusing feelings and thoughts of children aged 5-17 who have experienced the death of a loved person and children who grieve the things their incurable diagnosis has taken away through art.

The Children and Young People’s Wellbeing Team at the hospice finds that many children who have experienced the death of someone special to them or have a complex or incurable condition often feel invisible, trying to process feelings that even adults don’t fully understand. However, art and creative therapy can be valuable tools to help them express thoughts and feelings that can be too hard to verbalise. Creative techniques like painting, drawing and poetry open up conversations and often evoke memories.

The masterpieces were created during the hospice’s ‘Headspace’ bereavement group, one-to-one sessions with counsellors, workshops and wellbeing groups.

Kat Wright, parent to Ella, who is participating in the exhibition, says, “Ella loved being part of the Little Havens Headspace group. She was encouraged to explore her feelings surrounding the loss of her twin brother Noah and expressed herself through her artwork.

“Thank you to everyone involved for giving our daughter such a therapeutic and supportive experience to learn how to cope with her grief.”

Havens Hospices provides palliative nursing and supportive care to adults, young people and children living with complex or incurable conditions. Their specialist Care Teams can support them and their family living throughout illness, death and bereavement in the comfort of their own home and through its hospice services, Fair Havens and Little Havens.

Fair Havens cares for adults in the City of Southend-on-Sea, Castle Point, and Rochford districts, while Little Havens supports the care of a child or young person up to the age of 25 at the end of their life.

The care provided by the charity is completely free of charge, thanks to the generosity of individuals and groups, raising money and making donations.

The free exhibition is taking place outside Boots in High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Chelmsford, from 9am to 6pm on Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of November.

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Aron, Dottie, Jen and Norah standing in front of artwork