16 April 2016
Following Harry’s sudden and unexpected death in March 2009, Lee and Odette were left in turmoil, trying to figure out how and where they would be able to access support that Jessica might need, following the loss of her twin and only sibling.
They travelled the 100 mile round trip to a charity based in High Wycombe as they couldn’t find anything local that focused on the bereaved child. In time they could see that giving Jessica the chance to spend time with other bereaved children, coupled with encouraging her to take part in challenging activities, helped improve her self-esteem and confidence. From this came the idea to form a charity which would offer a similar support arrangement to other bereaved children in Milton Keynes.
In 2011 a small team of close family and friends formed to discuss ideas, aims and objectives and on 29th October, Harry and Jessica’s 8th Birthday, the Harrys Rainbow website was launched and our slogan was created ‘ Spreading Sunshine to Bereaved Children and Their Families’.
Initially the charity formed to give bereaved children opportunities to spend time with each other in the form of trips and activities, as well as to raise awareness of child bereavement. Additionally we would provide pastoral advice via email, facebook and our website as well as provide books and resources to families with children who had been bereaved of a parent or sibling. As the charity progressed, the Rainbow group was formed, which gave the opportunity for the children who had met at various trips, to see each other on a more regular basis. To date (April 2016) the activities within rainbow group have ranged from Hula Hooping to self defence demonstrations, from making felt to decorating memory boxes and have also included visits from Corinas Mascots and Tonys reptiles.
In 2014 a static caravan was purchased to provide short breaks to bereaved children and their families and to date has provided short breaks to over 30 families, with a further 15 breaks booked for 2016.
We have so far registered 114 children to access the support we provide and will continue to follow our aims and objectives;
- To relieve children and young people and their families who have been bereaved through the loss of a significant loved one, such as a parent or sibling
- By providing Access to support and advice as well as recreational and leisure activities to children and young people in order to improve their conditions of life and to reduce the isolation felt during bereavement, by facilitating contact with other children and young people.
- To raise Public awareness of the need for support and guidance and providing access to information about coping with bereavement