Acorns recognises that the death of a child can be a challenging and difficult time for families, as they try to make sense of their experience and the emotional, physical and practical changes that follow.

Bereavement and feelings of loss may start from the point of initial diagnosis, but regardless of how long the relationship, the death of a child will have a lifelong impact on the family. Being able to access support through Acorns enables families to find strategies and ways of coping that will help them through the more difficult times.

Acorns teams agree a plan of support with the family tailored to the needs of each family member. Bereavement support is provided through the trauma of a child’s death, recognising the impact this has on health, wellbeing and relationships with family, friends, and significant others.

Memory making 

Acorns knows how important it is for families to keep special memories of their child. We provide a range of meaningful memory making opportunities and experiences which will help families to continue the bond between them and their child.  Our team are able to help create precious artworks, such as hand and foot casts, family trees or framed pictures. Families are also welcome to bring in anything they have at home which they might wish to craft into a meaningful memory.

We will also aim to facilitate final wishes where possible, or to be creative in offering an alternative, e.g. bringing the beach to the hospice when a child is unable to travel. 

Care and support after the death of a child 

Acorns are here to support families with decisions and arrangements following the death of their child.

We have two special bedrooms at each hospice, where a child can stay immediately following their death. There is a private space where the immediate family can be with their child and where the wider family and friends can be supported to say their goodbyes.

Acorns Family Practitioners can assist with registering the child’s death and arranging the funeral.

Support for siblings and young people 

Acorns Sibling Workers can provide advice and support to parents and carers, and offer direct support to siblings.  

The death of a close friend or acquaintance may have a significant impact, especially where they too may have the same diagnosis or have shared experiences. Our Young Person Workers are available to provide support and guidance to young people where needed. 

Family events 

Acorns offer a variety of events for families such as family picnics or BBQs and occasional trips to venues such as the SnowDome and Cotswold Wildlife Park. These events give families the opportunity to meet others and to develop lasting friendships and support networks.

Remembering a child or young person 

We recognise that it is important for families to find ways to remain connected and continue the bond with their child. Each Hospice has a Memorial Garden which provides families with a private space to sit, reflect and remember. We offer each family a specially engraved stone which they may choose to place in the Memorial Garden or keep at home.

Legacy making and Trusts 

Many find comfort in fundraising in loving memory and celebration of their child, knowing that the money they have raised will support other families through their journey with Acorns. To recognise these special fundraisers and their children, Acorns have created our Daisy Chain Tribute Funds, which also enable families to access events such as the Daisy Chain Memorial Walk and Light up a Life events.

Memorial garden with a woman sat on a bench in the background.