Bereavement support

We understand that the death of a child is one of the most heart-breaking experiences that a family will ever go through. Even though grieving is a natural response, it can be so painful and overwhelming that day to day living may become hard to manage. Family, friends and others can provide support in many ways but sometimes additional help is needed - someone to talk to who will listen in a different way.

You can contact our bereavement team directly on

We offer bereavement support to all families following the death of their child. Support is tailored to the family's needs and can take place at the hospice or in local counselling rooms. In some circumstances home visits may be possible. 

Martin House can offer a space for your child to be looked after for up to five days after their death, and also for you, as parents, to stay as well. Your child is usually cared for in one of our dedicated, cooled bedrooms, or in a bedroom using a specially cooled cot or blanket. This provides an opportunity to spend precious, quality time close to the child. Our care team are here to give help and guidance with practical arrangements. They can also help with making keepsakes using finger hand or footprints of the child.  


Our bereavement team

We have an experienced bereavement team who have dedicated time to offer support to you. A member of the team will contact you four to six weeks following your child's death to introduce themselves and your bereavement support options.

Our service 

We offer a bereavement service to families whose child has died of a life-shortening condition or who has died from a sudden or traumatic death.  The service, delivered by our expereinced and specialist bereavement support workers and cousellors, is available to those who have used the services of the hospice and also to those who have not. 

Every family has different needs and we tailor our support to meet those needs.  The aim is to provide an opportunity to talk through feelings and find ways of coping within a supportive, confidential and professional relationship.  Our service is free of charge and available to families living in West, North and East Yorkshire. 

“I can be in a room full of relatives and yet feel alone and as if I have no one to talk to. I can tell you anything and that is very helpful.”

Our offer is made up of:
  • meetings for individuals or couples
  • groups sessions for bereaved parents
  • group sessions for bereaved brothers and sisters
  • group sessions for grandparents 
  • sessions for parents and children together 
It may be that the family accesses one or all of these options. 


Support for Siblings

Following the death of a brother or sister, children often express their grief differently from their parents and other adults. They do not always have the words to communicate the complex range of their feelings and tend to dip in and out of their grief.  Experience has shown us that it can be helpful for them to have the opportunity to be in the safe and supportive environment of a group with other children whose brother or sister has also died.  

Our carefully planned and therapeutic activities, which also include family workshops and a residential weekend, give children the opportunity to explore and understand their grief, thoughts and feelings in relation to their brother or sister and their parents.  Through fun games and activities, the death of their brother or sister is acknowledged. 

Parents' groups 

Our years of experience in offering groups to bereaved families ensures that sessions are tailored to meet the needs of those attending.  Groups sessions are designed to allow time for reflection through discussion, working alongside other bereaved parents and those going through similar experiences. 

Our approach is informal and supportive and our sessions are facilitated by experienced, specialist members of the bereavement team and members of the Martin House care team.

This programme of workshops runs once a month on a Saturday for five consecutive months in a venue close to Martin House.  


Remembrance Day

Every year, we have a Day of Remembrance at Martin House for children that have died within the last two years. We also hold Light up a Life services across the region at Christmas. These both provide further opportunities for family members to remember their loved ones.

 Referral criteria 

We accept referrals which relate to the death of a baby, child or young person, including sudden and unexpected death, but not related to miscarriage or stillbirth as these are covered very well by other organisations and charities. 

If the child was known to Martin House prior to his or death, the referral will be automatically accepted. For those that have never used Martin House, the upper age limit for referral is 25. 

Anyone can refer e.g. health, social or education professionals. Parents or carers can also self-refer.