STARS Bereavement Charity has been helping more grieving young people across the county, with referrals having grown rapidly throughout the pandemic.

Thanks to a grant from Anglian Water, our capacity to help heartbroken and distressed youngsters has significantly increased - meaning no-one will be turned away.

The charity provides specialist bereavement counselling and this year it anticipates 180 referrals for its help, compared to an average of 150 prior to the pandemic.

Increased demand has meant a requirement to hire more counsellors, and the need to move premises to accommodate face to face sessions.

Anglian Water’s Positive Difference Fund allocated the Cambridgeshire charity a total of £9,000, which is now being put to use in supporting children and young people between the ages of 4 and 19 across the county, who have experienced loss and require support.

Stephen Davies, Executive Director of Stars, said: “It will come as no surprise to many, that the level of grief and distress caused to young people throughout the pandemic has increased against normal times.

“More families have experienced sudden loss, and more children have felt confused about how to process the ensuing grief.

“We are very grateful for this grant from the Anglian Water Positive Difference fund, which is making a significant contribution towards our ongoing programme of support for bereaved, and about to be bereaved, children and young people across Cambridgeshire.”

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Chief Executive, said: “No one would have believed at the beginning of 2020 what a different world we’d be living in just 12 months later. All our lives have been affected by the pandemic in some way. As one of the biggest businesses in the East of England, we made a commitment to support to our local communities through this difficult time.  

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to make even a small difference to so many people. But our work is not done as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. Alongside the Positive Difference Fund, we’ve been working to support our customers in the best way we know how - by keeping taps running and toilets flushing, because access to water for health and hygiene has never been more important.” 

 For more information about the work of Stars, to refer a child or to make a donation, please visit the website at https://talktostars.org.uk/