Sarah Childs supports the siblings of children who come to Acorns. For Sarah, one of the most enjoyable parts of her role is linking siblings up with other children like them, allowing them to support each other.
Growing up with a brother or sister who needs lots of medical care can mean that you become independent and self-sufficient early. Your brother or sister often needs help from mum or dad, and may need support from you.
In my role, I focus on these siblings and make sure they are also feeling looked after. After conversations with mum and dad, I’ll meet with the sibling to see how they feel. Sometimes I may suggest one to one support, especially if they are bereaved. Or I’ll see if they want to come to our sibling groups.
During the groups I plan activities that the children will firstly enjoy but also benefit from. Many of the children just want to run around and play or kick a ball with the other siblings because they are unable to do this at home.
It’s nice to provide them with an opportunity to just be children.
I also organise activities which have a therapeutic undertone, giving them a safe way to express their feelings and worries. We create coping tools together as well, which they can take home so that when they are sad they can use them to feel better.
By arranging activities as part of a group it also gives siblings the opportunity to meet other siblings who are going through similar things.
They often find it hard to talk to children at school because they are the only one with a poorly brother or sister. When they come to Acorns, however, they can have a conversation with others about how it is making them feel.
It’s really lovely to hear the supportive conversations that the siblings have with each other.
By spending time with other children who are going through what you’re going through you realise you’re not the only one.
You’re not the only one who is woken up in the middle of the night by an ambulance; you’re not the only one who listens out for coughs or beeping machines; you’re not the only one who worries if your mum and dad are ok and you’re not the only one who has suffered the loss of a brother or sister.
Knowing that and being supported by coming to Acorns makes you feel that little bit better.
Sarah Childs, Sibling Support Worker
£15 allows us to take a sibling on a trip out.