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scheme to
help the
A Church of Scotland community in an Edinburgh suburb where infant and adult deaths are high
is helping residents overcome their grief with an award-winning scheme.
Richmond Craigmillar Church has exceeded its own expectations in running one of the UK’s most
transformational community projects, Richmond’s Hope. It is the UK’s only child bereavement centre open
every week of the year. Richmond’s Hope provides support for children aged four to 12 who have been deeply
affected by traumatic bereavement.
As the church’s minister, the Rev Liz Henderson dealt with 15 grieving families from 1997 to 1999 as the
plight of young children unable to speak of their loss became increasingly evident to her. The church also
became more central to the life of the community in 1999 when it opened ‘Richmond’s Café’ to provide
nutritious and affordable meals for more than 100 local residents each day.
‘The café gave us the opportunity for constant community consultation,’ explained Liz. ‘We began to realise
the struggle that many children were facing in coming to terms with their bereavement. We wanted to help
these children and we wanted to do it professionally.’
The church discovered that while organisations such as CRUSE offered support to bereaved secondary
school children, there was no such service for children of primary school age. The fi rst of many children
brought to the church for the purpose of coming to terms with their loss was eight-year old David. Since the
death of his brother in 1998, David’s behaviour had changed for the worse.
In 2001, David’s parents brought him to the church music club which was geared to help grieving
children to express their feelings. The club was a vital step toward Richmond’s Hope.
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