We have a number of support groups that run throughout the year for parents, siblings and grandparents. These include:
Having a child with a potentially life-shortening condition can take parents to the heights and depths of emotion; it can be overwhelmingly busy, enormously satisfying but also lonely and isolating. That is why four times a year Martin House has days just for parents of the children and young people who use the services of Martin House.
These days are useful to share useful information, experiences and learn from each other. There are opportunities to relax, chat together or maybe try a new activity. There may also be a choice of some pampering or massage or a guided walk around the area. Parents pop in for all or part of the day depending on their other commitments.
Every year we host a day for our Asian mums at the Carlisle Centre in Bradford. This is an informal day, from 10.30 until 2.30pm. The mums who attend these days have enjoyed the support and friendship of the group. We spend the morning discussing issues of special relevance and the afternoon is spent having fun or perhaps learning a new activity or craft. A lovely lunch is provided.
This group is for brothers and sisters of children and young people who use Martin House. Children aged between 5 and 15 are invited.
There are three Time 4 Us days each year, held at Martin House, either at a weekend or during school holidays and they are very popular with our children.
The groups provide an opportunity for the children to have fun with others who understand how it feels to have a poorly sibling. The day always has a theme and there are lots of fun activities organised which keep the children happy and involved. These might include crafts, baking, animation, sports, gardening and even den building! Sometimes we are visited by ‘Mary’s Farm’ who brings along lots of small animals.
A series of six days are held between Autumn and Summer, at the same time as the Time 4 Us 2 children’s groups.
The groups are facilitated by experienced members of the care team and there is a balance between opportunities for discussion and some simple activities.
The aim of the group is to enable parents to discuss and share their experiences in a safe, supportive environment.
We value the feedback that we receive from parents each year as this helps us to develop the support we offer.
Once a year in May we hold a special day for bereaved grandparents at Martin House.
We know from speaking to grandparents who have attended the day, that they find it beneficial to have the opportunity to meet and share with others who have experienced a similar bereavement. Throughout the day two experienced members of the care team are present to offer support. We enjoy a lovely lunch together provided by the Martin House Chef Robin.
This group is open to the brothers and sisters of children who have recently died, and can include children from as young as 3 years old to those young people around 17 or 18 years of age.
This is a space for the youngsters to get together, to be with others who are going through a similar experience, to have their needs acknowledged and to be able to keep in touch with Martin House.
We do activities such as bread making, parachute games, crafts and treasure hunts. We laugh together but always make time to acknowledge their bereavement and allow them to talk about it, if they want to.
The groups take place at Martin House on a Saturday four times a year.
These groups are run for children who have been bereaved for 6 months or more. They are a mix of Saturday sessions at Martin House and one weekend stay on a nearby farm.
We want the children to know that we are there to help and support them and not just their parents. We see how children ‘dip in and out’ of sadness, they can play happily one minute yet be tearful or quiet and withdrawn the next. Children can also hide their feelings from their parents to protect them.
The groups are an opportunity to meet other children in a similar situation, and to see that there is no right or wrong way to feel. We also help them to develop resources for times in the future when they might particularly miss their brother or sister.