Help Once Upon a Smile Be There For Bereaved Children and Families This October

Posted on 21 Sep 2020 by Amy Jackson

Once Upon a Smile Logo

Founded in 2011, Once Upon a Smile provides practical and emotional support to bereaved families. The charity was founded after it became apparent that there is a lack of support available for families after the death of a loved one, specifically a parent, child or sibling. They work in partnership with schools, hospitals, charities and hospices, all of whom refer families in need of support. From providing children's bereavement support to respite breaks for families, Once Upon a Smile aims to provide long term support tailored to the needs of each individual family.


How Do Once Upon a Smile Help?

Practical Support

Experiencing a bereavement is traumatic enough, but in some cases it can result in secondary losses which can bring even more stress. This can be factors such as a loss of income, time off work or funeral costs. Once Upon a Smile helps families experiencing financial difficulty as a result of bereavement, and in the past have been able to tailor support packages that can help with mortgage/rent arrears, utility bills, funeral costs or even household groceries.

Respite Breaks

For families who have experienced the death of a loved one, some quality time away together can be invaluable. The charity provides breaks tailored to the needs of individual families, whether it’s a weeks’ holiday, a weekend break or even just a day out, allowing them to spend quality time together in a different environment.

Children’s Bereavement Support

Once Upon a Smile run a number of different programmes for children and young people who have lost parents, guardians or siblings. These depend on the age of the child and the circumstances around the loved one’s death, but the ultimate goal is to provide a safe environment where they can express their feelings and connect with other children who have lost loved ones. In 2019, the charity opened their headquarters at Sidley House, which is also Manchester’s first dedicated bereavement centre for children. The services and programmes provided include:

- Monthly support groups with fun activities to allow children to express their emotions, meet with other children who have gone through similar experiences.

- A one to one service for children who need additional support along with the monthly group sessions.

- Six week bereavement support groups for children with specific needs, involving activities such as creating memory boxes and focusing on common thoughts around the death of a loved one. There are also other groups that focus on other areas, including self-esteem, creative art, and managing anger.

- Stay & Play for children aged 3-8 designed to help children understand and process what’s happened through play.

- “Snuggles and Smiles” for young children who have lost a parent or sibling. Children and families are able to create their own snuggle bear, in the hopes that it will provide them with comfort during the difficult time. The children can also add precious keepsakes, photos and a heart memorial into the bear to help preserve the memories of their loved one.

- Residential weekends for children to enjoy fun activities and make new friends.

- Family and group events which encourage families to get together and celebrate the memory of the person they’ve lost.


How You Can Support Once Upon a Smile

Once Upon a Smile is the only charity in the UK that offers this level of support to bereaved families. Without the help of their individual and corporate supporters, it wouldn’t be possible for them to carry out the work they do. This month, we are delighted to be supporting Once Upon a Smile in our October charity poll. You can help them win 20% of our profits by casting your vote for them today. Thank you!

To find out more about the charity or to make a donation, visit their website:

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