Balloons services are available to all pre and post bereaved children and young people who live in Exeter, Mid and East Devon Districts and who are aged between 3 and 18 years of age. They will have experienced the death (or are experiencing the imminent death) of someone significant in their lives.
Grieving children and young people share their experiences with volunteer Grief Support Workers as they move through their grieving and healing process. Balloons takes account of their emotional, spiritual, social and physical needs.
The children and young people attend school or college in Balloons catchment area. They are referred by education, social care or health professionals, by families or neighbours, and they can self refer. Before the first contact is made, the child or young person will be made aware of the referral, and they must be happy to be involved with Balloons.
It is evidenced that bereavement at an early age can cause many reactions in children, either at the time of the death or later in their lives. Teenage pregnancy, anti social behaviour, and failed studies can be the result of a bereavement which has not been dealt with. Positive and timely intervention will minimise this negative response.
In a pre bereavement situation, before the death of someone close, a Grief Support Worker will ensure that communication channels within a family remain open, and that all family members involved fully understand the emotional roller coaster the child or young person is experiencing. This enables the family to work together through an incredibly difficult time.
About 1,800 children and young people living in Exeter, Mid and East Devon are experiencing the death of someone close to them at any one time.
There are also other volunteering opportunities available to get involved with this fantastic charity.
One young person wrote to Balloons:
I think that Balloons helped me understand what happened and the activities we did were very helpful. I enjoyed the 6 weeks we met for and I found it very creative and enjoyable for myself. It also helped me take my mind off the situation and helped me overcome and talk about it, which I think would help me in the future. Aged 13