Could you be a Trustee and help us to support Norfolk’s bereaved children & young people?

VACANCY: Trustee

Norfolk’s leading child bereavement charity, Nelson’s Journey, is looking to recruit new Trustees to add to the Board’s knowledge and skills in support of the charity’s objectives.

Recent years have seen an increase in demand for the charity’s support and need to grow the charity’s resources.

The successful applicant will join a Board of Trustees with a diverse set of skills, and work alongside them to provide comprehensive governance for our developing services.

The Board is seeking candidates with particular experience in the following areas:

  • Clinical Governance: to support the Board’s role in considering the development and delivery of services to meet growing needs
  • Marketing and/or Fundraising: to support the Board’s understanding of profile and income growth potential and opportunities

Please spend some time reading through this document and if you’d like an informal conversation then our Chief Executive Simon Wright can be contacted by email at:

Nelson’s Journey is committed to equal opportunities, and the charity welcomes applications from people from all backgrounds and with all different kinds of life experiences. We welcome applicants that can expand our knowledge to understand a wide range of communities across Norfolk. Appointment will be made on merit.

Make a difference to our work in support of bereaved children and young people in Norfolk, and download an information pack below.

Enquiries and applications should be sent by

Information and Application Pack:

NJ Trustee 2024 Recruitment pack

Trustee Application Form

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Local author creates children’s book to raise funds for Nelson’s Journey

Over the past few months we’ve been working with local author Jamie Payne, the creator of Biggle Dink, who has created a book called Big Feelings.


Jamie Payne hopes his creation can help bereaved children when they are struggling to cope with overwhelming feelings such as anger.


Jamie approached the us in November 2023 and pitched the idea of creating a bespoke book, using his character “Biggle-Dink”, that would help support bereaved children and raise money for the charity too.


Jamie met with Funding and Marketing Officer, Becky Bushell, along with members of the service team who deliver bereavement support directly to children. After discussing various approaches to the book, Jamie decided to run with the theme of managing “Big Feelings,” and made that the title of the book.


The book aims to help children explore various feelings but focuses on how to manage anger safely. It’s a resource to help bereaved children manage how they feel, but has been written so any child can read it alone or with an adult to help them learn how to manage big feelings too.


Jamie said: “Readers of my books will know that Biggle-Dink sometimes struggles with tricky feelings and emotions, so creating a custom book in this area seemed a logical fit. In the book, Biggle-Dink experiences a few different emotions but it focuses on how they deal with anger.


“This is because when children experience different emotions like anxiety, fear or sadness, what they will actually display is anger. Younger children are often too young to understand what they are feeling or how to deal with it, so anger is used to mask other emotions – it is their way of dealing with and expressing complex feelings. Nelson’s Journey has some really useful and safe tips for children to manage these feelings and Biggle-Dink takes inspiration from them in the book.”


Jamie’s initial goal was to raise £100 from the project, however, he’s managed to secure sponsorship from a range of local businesses so 750 copies will now be printed to sell. It’s thanks to Cromer Pier, Sanders Coaches Ltd, Yellow Brick Mortgages, Orchard Toys and Dann’s Farm that Jamie now hopes to raise over £3000. Copies of the book will also be stocked at Nelson’s Journey to gift to children receiving support to help them manage their feelings of anger.


Becky Bushell, Funding & Marketing Officer from Nelson’s Journey said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with Jamie on this unique project. It’s been wonderful watching how Biggle Dink explores these different emotions and learns how to grapple with feelings of anger. The book reflects the range of emotions that children go through and offers a helpful guide for them to understand their feelings better and help them deal with their anger in a healthy manner. It’s a great book that younger children can read alone or with an adult to help discover big feelings, and it will be a useful resource that we can share with the bereaved children we are supporting too.


“We are delighted it has received such a positive response from local businesses who have kindly sponsored the print costs, allowing Jamie to increase his fundraising goal too.”


Jamie concluded “Like many other people in Norfolk, I am fortunate enough to have never needed the type of support that Nelson’s Journey provides to bereaved children. I can’t imagine how a child must feel when someone significant to them dies, but I take warmth from knowing that by producing and selling this book we can raise vital funds to help support these very children.


“I am so honoured that Nelson’s Journey allowed me to work on this book on their behalf – it is a project I will never forget.”


The book will go on sale from w/c 27th May and will retail at £6.99 with 100% of the profits raised by Jamie to be donated to Nelson’s Journey. It will be stocked at Cromer Pier and in Roys of Wroxham and their stores in Bowthorpe, Dereham, North Walsham and Magdalen Street too. It will also be available to purchase online at


As part of the launch, Jamie will be signing books at Roys of Wroxham on Thursday 30th May from 11 am and at the Cromer Pier 60’s event on Saturday 8th June too


Jamie Payne pictured with Becky Bushell from Nelson’s Journey

Time to Talk Day – Lets Talk!

Coping with grief at Christmas

Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for many of us. While, for some people, it’s a time of joy, love, and togetherness, for others, it can be very overwhelming because of heightened expectations and pressure to conform to the traditional holiday norms. For those who have been recently bereaved, this can be an especially challenging time. Some of these people may be approaching their first Christmas without a loved one. Here are some tips and guidance on how you can celebrate Christmas in a way that feels right for you, without the weight of others’ expectations.

  1. Grieving and Coping:

The first Christmas after the death of someone special can be an incredibly emotional and overwhelming experience. Grief doesn’t follow a set timeline, and it’s important to acknowledge that everyone grieves differently. For some, it may feel difficult to carry on with all the usual traditions, from sending out cards to buying gifts for extended family members. The thought of not including your loved one’s name on a card can be a painful reminder of their absence. Others may choose to embrace the full Christmas experience as a way of coping. They may invite lots of friends and family around to keep themselves busy as a way of coping.

  1. Embracing a Different Approach:

It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to approach Christmas differently during this challenging time. You don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations or traditions if they don’t bring you comfort. If sending out cards or buying gifts feels like a burden, take a step back. Instead, consider finding alternative ways to honour and remember your loved one. Light a candle in their memory, create a scrapbook, or simply spend a quiet moment reminiscing about the happy times you shared. Once you’ve had a think about how you want to approach the holiday season, you may find it helpful to be open with those close to you. Having conversations with friends and family about how you feel and what your plans are can help everyone support you in ways which are sensitive to your grief.

  1. Nurturing Yourself:

The importance of self-care during this period cannot be emphasised enough. Do what feels right for you. This might mean opting for a smaller, more intimate gathering, or even choosing not to celebrate Christmas at all. Remember that it’s okay to take time for yourself and prioritise your emotional well-being.

  1. Balancing for Young Children:

If there are young children in the family, their excitement for Christmas may still be palpable, even in the absence of a loved one. Reassure them it’s okay to have fun, even though someone has died. Consider discussing with them how you’d like to approach the festivities and find ways to include them in the process.

  1. Creating New Traditions:

If you are trying to navigate the first Christmas without your loved one, consider creating new traditions that pay tribute to their memory. Light a special candle, visit a place they loved, or cook a favourite family recipe. There’s some ideas here:


The first Christmas without a loved one is undoubtedly a poignant and challenging time, but it’s essential to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate during this period. It’s okay to deviate from the norm and protect your own well-being. Whether you choose to celebrate quietly or embrace the joy of the season, know that this is all normal and that there many others going through a similar experience.

For support and guidance on supporting a bereaved child – click on this link

Managing Missed Milestone Moments

Coping with the absence of significant people in your life is difficult enough, but when important milestone moments take place, this can be even more challenging and emotionally difficult.

For children and young people, August and September can be huge milestone months, especially for those who are waiting for A-Level and GCSE results, or for those starting school, college or embarking on a new school year and the changes this can bring.

When a significant person is no longer present in their life, it can trigger very difficult feelings associated with grief, which can make it even harder to handle these moments.

Some children and young people may already feel these absences in the lead-up to these significant events, for others, it may not hit them until afterwards. The journey of grief is unique to everyone and it’s important to take care of yourself and find ways to support yourself if these difficult moments arise.

Some of our Child Bereavement Support Workers have shared some tips and ideas on ways to help you cope if you’re struggling to cope when these milestone moments arise, here are their ideas:


“Something we talk about a lot is getting children and young people to write a letter to their special person or keep an ongoing diary or journal, with milestones, achievements and even disappointments. They can also include a photo of what they are writing about i.e. first day at high school, winning a medal at a sports club, that kind of thing.

It’s also important for them to remember that not everything in life is going to work out how they want and it’s okay to acknowledge this in a journal entry too, with maybe how they will reflect and learn from this.”


“Think about how the loved one might choose to celebrate the milestone and maybe blend that into the day of the event.

Share your plans and feelings with those around you – especially at times like Christmas when there may have been traditions before, you may not feel the same about them anymore or may want to start new ones.

It’s ok to make time for yourself on these days and these times. Reach out and don’t be scared or worried to tell people how you are feeling. Tears are not a bad thing!!

Give yourself permission not to observe or celebrate the milestone. Sometimes the thought of the milestone can be pretty overwhelming & often it can become a day that you end up dreading. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to celebrate it and want to treat it as an ordinary day. Our grieving processes are all different.”


“There’s a lovely part in the Julie Stokes book ‘You will be ok’ where she talks about her own experience of being invited to meet the Queen because of the work she has done with bereaved children. She talked about on the day feeling surprised by overwhelming sadness rather than excitement as her own father wasn’t there to be part of it. She refers to digging into her grief toolbox and wearing his favourite aftershave on the day to maintain that connection of her dad being part of the special day as smells can really connect to emotions. Thinking about a smell, item of clothing or holding close to them a photo on these milestone days to help maintain that connection to the person who has died.”


“It can be helpful to use a calendar to note down the dates that may be difficult, such as birthdays, anniversaries, prom, exam results etc. so these occasions don’t take you by surprise. Acknowledge that these days, and sometimes even the days on either side of these dates may be hard. It can be good to think ahead and have some ideas of what you feel may help you.

It may be things like making family, friends, teachers, etc aware that you might find that day hard.

You could explain to others how they can help you on that day i.e. ask you how you are, not mention it, talk to you, give you space, a hug or just a smile.

Maybe it would be helpful to plan a moment during the day to remember your special person, such as lighting a candle, visiting the grave or a place special to them, or listening to their favourite song.

You might like to wear a piece of their clothing, jewellery, or favourite colour on the day to feel connected to them.

Not all milestone occasions are sad, some can also be days of celebration and joy. Either way, remember to be kind to yourself, allow the tears to come if needed and don’t feel bad if you are happy.”


Supporting a Bereaved Child at School

Teachers and support staff play a crucial role in supporting bereaved children and young people as they spend a significant amount of time with them.

It can be a very challenging experience for them to return to school when a significant person in their life has died, so it’s vital they received the appropriate support to meet their specific needs.

Here are some tips on how staff can best support a bereaved child/ young person in school.

  • When you first hear of the bereavement, we suggest that someone from the leadership team or the child’s class teacher reaches out to the family. This could be done either by phone or in person. It may also be thoughtful to send a card, or you could consider sending them a Smiles & Tears box which is a gift box of useful resources that has been specifically designed to support a bereaved child. To find out more and to order them, please click here.


  • Work with the family and create a plan for the child’s return to school. They may feel worried and anxious about their peers knowing about their situation and may prefer to share with a select few friends. It’s important to understand what information the family and child want to share within the school community. Establishing a support system for the child is crucial as they will need people to turn to when they are struggling, including identifying a trusted adult, who can be there for them. However, be mindful that sometimes hearing about a death and witnessing a child’s distress can trigger grief in adults, so ensure staff members are supported too.


  • There may be some sensitive issues around the person’s death, for instance, if it was a suicide. It’s best to work with the family to determine what information can and cannot be shared. If staff are made aware of the death, it’s not necessary for everyone to know all of the details, but for everyone to be aware of what has happened.


  • If the child shares their experience, it’s important to listen without sharing your personal views and beliefs. Each child’s grief journey is unique and there may be things you hear that don’t fit your own views and beliefs. It’s important to just listen to the child without judgement.


  • It’s important to be flexible when a child/ young person returns to school. Some may struggle to attend on a full-time basis, whilst others may take comfort in the structure and routine of school life. They may wish to come back on a part-time basis and may need to take regular breaks when they feel overwhelmed. Remember, just because they are in school, doesn’t mean they will be able to focus on their learning all the time.


  • Be aware that their behaviour can change quite quickly. It’s normal that they will lose their concentration in class, and you may see them jump from being overwhelmed and emotional to happy and laughing.


  • Suggest to the child/ young person to try using our Smiles & Tears Postcards. These are a downloadable resource for bereaved children and young people to print off and use to help them communicate how they’re feeling without talking. These postcards can be shared with teachers, as well as with, friends, family members and even themselves. To download them, click here.


  • Our website offers various resources that can assist you in supporting a child/ young person who is grieving. There are lots of free downloadable activities to help remember their significant person as well as helping them manage difficult feelings. Visit to access these resources.


  • There are lots of books to help support bereaved children and young people, to download full list of recommended reading, please click here.


  • Training – We offer free, online awareness training which is open to professionals who are working with children and young people in Norfolk. The session will help you to recognise a range of experiences related to bereavement, understand the services we provide to children and young people, gain confidence in how to work with bereaved children, young people and their families as well as identify resources and organisations available to support bereaved families. Our next training session is on 4th September 2023 at 9.30am and can be booked online here:


Whilst many people will be celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday 19th March, there will be many bereaved children and young people in Norfolk who will find the day extremely difficult. They will be missing their mum, or the person who they’ve looked up to as their mother figure, some for the first time.

The build up to Mother’s Day for a bereaved child or young person can be incredibly overwhelming, especially as there are so many places promoting Mother’s Day. It’s difficult to avoid it whether you’re online, watching TV or out visiting shops.

Every child grieves differently, it’s a very personal process. The build up to days like Mother’s Day can unearth a variety of difficult emotions including sadness, anger, anxiety and even guilt.

What’s important for a child/young person to know is that if they are struggling with the build-up and the day itself, that it’s okay to give themselves permission to sit with their difficult feelings and to do what feels right for them. It’s not about making the feelings stop or trying to ignore them, sometimes sitting with those feelings will give them time to process and reflect.

Have a chat with them and see if they would like to do something to mark the day. For instance, if they’d like to buy or make a card. They may want to leave it by the grave or special place. But if they don’t perhaps it can be stored safely in a memory box or book.

The same goes for buying a gift, if they see something they know Mum would have liked, then they can always get this for their memory box or keep for themselves.

Other ideas or things they may want to do is cook their favourite food, listen to their favourite song or look at some photos.

They may wish to ignore the day entirely and that’s fine too. There should be no pressure or expectations to do anything if they don’t want to.

Something our team talk about with bereaved children and young people is that whilst mum is not physically there anymore, they still have a place in your life, and whilst it’s a different place, they are still your mum.

Our website has lots of remembering activities, so if you feel stuck for some ideas, please click here.

Whatever you choose to do, the team here at Nelson’s Journey will be thinking of those who are remembering their Mum or the person they looked to as their mother figure.

The Queen’s Funeral: Preparing Children and Young People

The Queen’s Funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September, 11am. Many families will be given time off school and work to observe the Day of National Mourning, and watch the funeral on the television.
Some children may benefit from talking to their families and carers in advance of the funeral, to help them prepare for the event. Even if they choose not to watch it, they are very likely to see images and clips of the funeral through various media.
While the funeral may seem very different, children and young people are likely to be reminded of previous funeral services that they’ve attended, and that may bring up difficult memories.
Children may feel a mixture of emotions before, during and after the funeral, and it’s important to reassure them that this is normal. They will probably see a mix of emotions from others during the funeral too. They will see lots of sad people crying, but there may also be lighter moments when a funny story or memory is shared. Children may find it helpful to see that adults can have a range of feelings when someone has died, just as they may have themselves. If the experience becomes overwhelming, then it’s ok to switch off for a while so that children can take a break if they need it.
Children may have lots of questions about the funeral, and it might be that we don’t always have the answers for them. It is best to be honest in these situations and say if you don’t know. Maybe you can find out the answer together? Particularly at a state funeral, there may be procedures and elements of the ceremony that are historically informed and don’t occur at other funerals.
After the funeral, it’s important to speak to children about how they’re feeling and whether they want to talk about anything they’ve experienced.
Some children might find it helpful to engage in an activity that helps them to write down their memories of the Queen. We have lots of free activity and resource sheets, such as our memory bricks, which can be downloaded via our Resources and Activities section of our website.
Parents, carers and professionals may find it helpful to read out ‘At a time of bereavement’ booklet which can be downloaded here, before having discussions with children and young people about death.