Restart Life for Young People

The Young People's Project brings together children throughout the UK, bereaved through murder and manslaughter, in a North East location which is neutral to their traumas, for a five day period of residential respite, workshop activities and bereavement therapy. The project is overseen by trauma counsellors, peer support workers and it is designed to develop the abilities of the children to address their traumas in a safe and understanding environment. The children are accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be responsible for each child’s conduct and welfare. Each day includes a briefing and de-briefing session, self-directed group discussions and peer support, workshops aimed at improving school attendance and achievement, anti-bullying strategies and creative arts activities designed to honour the memory of the murdered family member. The project takes place in a hotel base as well as in a variety of imaginative child-centered settings including sand dunes, forests, river banks and on country walks. The sessions are further enhanced by fun creative photography and writing-based therapeutic mini-projects. They will meet other children who have been bereaved through homicide and with whom they can establish befriending and self-help peer support groups, with guidance for those at the younger end of the age range. Lastly, they can have fun in the company of other children with identical problems and emotional issues.

Children bereaved through murder and manslaughter are a particularly vulnerable group who are severely disadvantaged as a result of the impact such an event has upon their mental welling and all aspects of their family life. Children in this situation suffer from high levels of distress and a range of mental health issues such as panic attacks, flashbacks, depression and anxiety. They often become isolated, lose self–esteem and self-confidence.

The main purpose of the Restart Life For Young People's Project is that it recognises what the children are going through and provides support in a number of areas. People who have been bereaved in this way are often very traumatised and are therefore likely to find it very difficult to access mainstream services, especially as they would probably have to access three or four services to find the various aspects of help they require. This help, advice and expertise is all provided in one place in the Restart Life programme and for them this is a key benefit.