Norfolk bereavement charity in call for help

08:14 18 February 2013

Colin Lang, chief executive of the charity Nelson

Colin Lang, chief executive of the charity Nelson's Journey. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

A Norfolk charity providing vital support to young people affected by bereavement has put out a SOS call to the region’s health and children’s services leaders for funding help.

Last year Nelson’s Journey saw demand for its all-important service increase by 70pc as more and more schools, social workers, GPs and nurses referred youngsters for support.

But with the charity relying entirely on donations, fundraising and grant applications to fund its £350,000 operating costs each year, it found itself struggling to cope.

Colin Lang, chief executive, said: “We were buckling under the strain. With that number of referrals, our staff of three support workers have caseloads of 100 each. We can’t continue under that.”

The charity has 300 children receiving support at the moment and helped a total of 460 young people – at a cost of £437 each – in 2012.

Nelson’s Journey, based in Norwich, carried out a review of its services in December to find ways to maintain the quality of its offering and Mr Lang said he was confident they had achieved that.

But he still needs to fund the recruitment of a fourth social worker to cope with the extra demand. Mr Lang said: “In the 15 years Nelson’s Journey has been operating, we have never said no to a referral.

“How do you say no to a child who is crying out for support?”

His plea for financial help has been backed by the father of two children whose mother was killed in a car crash.

Keith Palmer, of Bradwell, had to cope with the sudden loss of his wife Kelly but his biggest concern was for Jordan, 12, and Kyle, 10, who were in the car at the time of the crash in 2009. He said they had been struggling to cope but the situation changed like “magic” when they went on their first Nelson’s Journey activity weekend.

At a meeting called by Norwich South MP Simon Wright, pictured, Nelson’s Journey appealed to the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney and Norfolk County Council for help.

At the moment the charity receives no public funding when a child is referred to it via social workers, teachers or GPs.

Mr Wright said he was pleased with the response from representatives of Norfolk and Waveney NHS Trust, Norfolk’s clinical commissioning groups, which will take over the commissioning of NHS healthcare on April 1, and Norfolk children’s services.

Speaking after the meeting, Michael Bateman, additional needs strategy and commissioning manager at the county council, said: “We hope to be able to provide a financial commitment to the charity for the year ahead as we recognise the important contribution Nelson’s Journey is making to create positive outcomes for the bereaved children and young people they work with.”


  • A noble cause, it seems, but with the public bodies in question preoccupied with their own "charitable" work (maintaining self-serving bureaucracies to keep thousands of the chronically overpaid in jobs) at the expense of the very public services they are mandated to provide, I fear the odds are stacked against.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • I have seen the wonderful work that Nelsons Journey do and totally agree they should receive more funding. Their work is unique and so much to help children that have suffered a bereavement. As to their funds and donations perhaps a visit to the Charity Commisioners website would be the best place to start for those people on here with queries.

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    Mrs Meldrew

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Don't feel too left out, you other struggling charities. Today's NCC budget meeting has chucked as many little scraps at as many different sectors to please as many different people as possible. There's an election soon I undertand. Described as Borat's personal amendments, the 200 extra jobs put at risk by the budget cuts barely get a mention. What are they doing with the half a billion or so stashed in reserves? You might have forgotten but these were built up between 2001 and 2010 when we were taxed by NCC way ahead of inflation to the tune of £250 extra per household. If NORSE is a successful, commercial, arms-length business, why does NCC need to subsidise its apprentice scheme? Whose are the "very small" country businesses that can't pay for their own apprentices - maybe a new tea room in Borat's constituency? £250,000 for vulnerable children and young people safeguarding services, on the back of the annihilation of youth services last year. The Armed Services' vote: in the bag! In a nutshell, a lot of little publicity-seeking gimmicks. Blatant electioneering that should fool no one.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Worry you not, Trev. Borat has heeded the call, as in he read the paper this morning and saw an opportunity to buy some votes.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Why does something with a turnover of £370k and an active staff of three need a "Chief Executive" ? I note on its website it has a 'Funding and Marketing Officer' as well.

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    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Another top heavy charity. May we know what proportion of every pound given goes on salaries? No matter how worthy the cause, if the bulk of donations is going to pay individuals then there has to be a rethink.

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    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • I don't know anything about how Nelson's Journey operates, the proportion of its income that is spent on salaries or anything like that - but I do feel that some of the comments on this article may be a bit harsh. A friend's children received enormous help from Nelson's Journey after a much loved cousin died suddenly many years ago - the family were full of praise for the events and camps that they organised. It would seem that they provide an invaluable service that no-one else does and I reckon they deserve a bit of encouragement. Re. criticism of the fact they have a Funding and Marketting Officer - charities have to work harder and harder nowadays to identify resources that let them do their work. The brutal fact is that they need professionals with particular skills to do this efficiently and systematically.

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    Trevor Ashwin

    Monday, February 18, 2013

  • Another nail in the coffin of the "Big Society"

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, February 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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