SWITCH is a community outreach bereavement support service for vulnerable children and young people. The project was set up by Winston’s Wish in 2012 in partnership with The Big Lottery and Catch 22 and forms part of a larger UK wide project to identify, evaluate and evidence effective ways of reducing pathways into youth offending.
SWITCH supports young people aged 8-14 who have been affected by the death of a parent/carer, sibling or grandparent who are also exhibiting one or more of the following difficulties:
- Difficulties with attendance/truancy
- At risk of exclusion from school
- Poor family relationships
- Poor peer relationships
- Difficulty managing behaviour
- Difficulty managing emotions
- Socially isolated
The programme is delivered over a number of months and includes family work, group work and concludes with a Celebration Day.
By completing The SWITCH Program our aim is to increase the Child/children’s resilience and increase their capacity to reach their full potential.
Referrals for the SWITCH Programme are normally made by professionals working with the family but self-referrals from parents can also be made. Referrals can be taken over the phone or by email.
“Thank You! My son is communicating more, he is smiling and is so much happier! I am so relieved to see my little boy laughing again…he used to play but he didn’t laugh or smile, it was almost as if he didn’t think he should. Since attending the group, he has told me he used to think it was his fault his dad died, but now he knows it wasn’t. He still misses his Dad and gets upset, but it’s not every night now and he will talk to me…like he told me he was really worried that I would die, and I didn’t know that, but now I’ve been able to talk about it. This has really helped us!”
“She’s like a different girl. I can’t explain it…it’s like she has grown up, being able to talk about her feelings and listen to other people’s difficulties has really helped her. She’s excellent! Oh…yes…the self harm has stopped too!”