Young people working with local charity Nelson’s Journey share their experiences with South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss
- Credit: Archant
Young people working with a children's bereavement charity in Norfolk had the opportunity to share their views with South West Norfolk MP, Elizabeth Truss.
Members of Nelson's Journey Youth Panel spoke passionately about the work they had been doing with the charity and today (Thursday) shared with the justice secretary some of the projects they had created.
This included the Smiles and Tears app for smartphones - where bereaved children can save memories and seek support - which was launched a year ago. So far it has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.
The panel also told Ms Truss about mindfulness postcards, colouring sheets, and a special bereavement box which contained items and activities to help others.
It was her first time visiting Smiles House and after a tour Ms Truss said she was 'impressed' with the support and facilities available at the site based at Octagon Business Park, off Hospital Road, in Little Plumstead.
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'What this is all about is encouraging young people and children to deal with what they are struggling with, and that's important,' she said.
'We do know that with young offenders there is a high rate who have suffered bereavement. If we deal with this earlier by early intervention we can help reduce that.'
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The charity's chief executive and former Norwich South MP Simon Wright explained how vital Nelson's Journey was, with a 22pc rise in referrals last year alone.
Nearly 800 children were referred to the charity in 2016.
He said: 'Having the justice secretary here, it's an opportunity to demonstrate our achievements and discuss which have directly had a positive effect.
'She also wants to reduce offending rates and we think we provide some of the tools to do that.'
Nelson's Journey moved into the £750,000 base, Smiles House, in 2014 to allow more scope to look after the increasing amount of youngsters aged 0 to 17.
It has space for support groups and families, accommodation for training professionals who work with children who might need bereavement guidance, and four acres for the youngsters roam.
- To contact Nelson's Journey visit www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01603 431788.
How Nelson's Journey helped:
Jeremiah Humphreys-Piercy, of Norwich, and Vonnie Penvenne, of Dereham, are both aged 15 and are on the Youth Panel for Nelson's Journey. They received support from the charity after losing people close to them.
Jeremiah has been on the panel for more than four years. He lost a number of people close to him over a period of time including his grandparents, sister, and best friend.
He said: 'I felt very overwhelmed, that is definitely the best word for it.
'The main thing Nelson's Journey helped me with was talking to people. I was very reclusive, angry and upset. Nelson's Journey helped to liberate me.'
Vonnie lost her father when she was just eight years old. She then moved to Norfolk from Kent in 2013.
She said: 'It was pretty hard; moving. All my counselling was in Kent so when I found Nelson's Journey it helped a lot.
'It's like a family here.'