Objectives The idea came from an eight-year old client receiving bereavement support. He knew of our evening films for grown-ups and suggested films on a Saturday morning for children and their families. He thought Up would be a good start.
Our community engagement programme now offers a monthly Saturday family event all the year round. We have outdoor activities during Spring and Summer and films in the Autumn and Winter. All family members can participate in the support we give our youngest clients.
Death literacy The films screened have themes of loss, ageing, illness and death within stories of love, compassion and care. Films for children do not shirk death and can look at it sensitively with a respectful regard for life. Up is a wonderful example.
Education It provides a safe environment for families to experience together their feelings and thoughts around loss. Children are always keen to talk about the film afterwards. During a sad part of Inside Out a little girl left her comfy chair to have a cuddle with mum seated nearby. She returned to her own seat when the sad moments passed. If empathy is about imagining another person’s world from the perspective of your own, then films certainly encourage that regardless of age.
Outcomes Attendance and feedback have been extremely encouraging with families suggesting films for future screenings to watch together in a group. One dad said it provided something to do with his young daughter at the weekend.
Future possibilities Inspired by our young client, we are now considering asking teenagers at the drop-in service if they would like to watch films together. Experiencing a film in a hospice setting clearly has the potential to help support bereaved people of all ages.
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