Children’s charity Star Bereavement Support will close if it cannot find funding

Doreen Butterfield from Hemsworth and her grandaughter, Madeline Colpus, are calling for funding help for charity Star Bereavement Service.
Doreen Butterfield from Hemsworth and her grandaughter, Madeline Colpus, are calling for funding help for charity Star Bereavement Service.

A charity which helps grieving children cope with bereavement will close in the summer if it cannot find new funding.

Star Bereavement Support, which helps youngsters across the district cope after the loss of a parent or sibling, has had its annual £90,000 funding cut by Wakefield Council and the NHS.

Now the charity is calling on the community to help save it from closure.

Claire Taylor, Star Bereavement’s service coordinator, said: “Without new funding the service will be lost in June.

“Star is a lifeline to children after a parent or sibling dies, it would be devastating to lose it.

“We have seen young people’s lives completely transformed after using the service.”

Last year the charity helped around 130 young people who were referred to the service by families, schools, doctors and mental health workers.

Ten-year-old Madeline Colpus was helped by the charity when her mum Leslie died in a road accident in 2011.

Her grandma Doreen Butterfield said the service helped Madeline through her grief.

Mrs Butterfield, of Hemsworth, said: “Madeline came to live with me when her mum died but struggled to cope with the loss.

“She changed from a very happy little girl into a very sad one. She wouldn’t go to school or get out of bed some days.

“Star worked with her for 12 months, they came to our house and helped her through it. Surely someone out there can finance this amazing team?”

Dr Phil Earnshaw, clinical chairman for NHS Wakefield, said: “Following discussions with Wakefield Council regarding our joint approach to developing children’s services, we decided we could not continue to extend the contract with Star Bereavement beyond the end of March 2015.

“There are a number of other bereavement services that are already available and which will still support these children.”

The charity is asking people to give their support by going along to a sponsorship event at Wakefield Wildcats’ stadium, Doncaster Road, on Friday, February 27 from 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm.

- The charity employs six people who help children come to terms with losing a parent or sibling.

- Wakefield Council stopped its annual £25,000 contribution to the charity last March and the NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group is to stop its annual £65,000 funding next month.

For more information log on to www.starwakefield.org.uk