Thursday, 08 October 2015 00:00

Nelson’s Journey launch Young People’s Forum

Written by  Gena Moore
Rate this item
(3 votes)
Kyia tests out the new online forum at Smiles House Kyia tests out the new online forum at Smiles House

Norfolk’s child bereavement charity Nelson’s Journey have just launched their Young People’s Forum, a new addition to the range of services that they currently offer to help support bereaved children and young people in Norfolk. 

The online forum, which has taken over 18 months to design and build, by local web designers NeoOptic, will help give bereaved children who have been referred to the charity a place to speak with others who have also experienced the death of someone special to them.

Child Bereavement Support Worker Adam White explains:

‘We feel it’s so important to have options for children who perhaps aren’t yet confident enough to speak to others face-to-face, so we are really pleased to now offer the online forum. It provides a safe place for children and young people to talk to others who are in a similar situation, and share their experiences, feelings and memories with each other.

It was also really important for us to get input from our Youth Panel, a group of young volunteers, many of who have been service users themselves, as well as service users at our NJ clubs and residential weekends. They made sure the design and features are relevant to the young people who will be using the forum. It’s open to any young person who has been referred to Nelson’s Journey in the past and is still under 18, so please get in touch if you’d like to log in and have a look!’

Norwich-based web designers NeoOptic have given over £10,000 worth of work, free-of-charge, on creating and implementing the online forum ready for the launch. Founder of NeoOptic, Kristian Phillips told us ‘We have worked with Nelson’s Journey for many years and truly believe in the cause. We are proud to have supported Nelson’s Journey by giving up our time to build the new online Young People’s Forum, and we are really pleased with how it’s turned out. Being custom built, it is suitable for a range of users of different ages and is really user-friendly. I’m sure people will engage with it.

It’s been quite a long project in terms of development, with lots of adjustments and tweaks along the way, after feedback from the focus groups. However, I think it’s going to be a great resource and will allow the young people who use it to share with each other in a way they may not initially feel confident doing with the adult support staff at Nelson’s Journey.’

The forum, which is only available to those who have been referred to the charity for support, has a system which means that every comment is moderated before it appears on the forum. Adam explains: ‘Even though the Forum is only for children and young people referred to Nelson’s Journey, we wanted to make sure nothing that was hurtful or inappropriate was posted. Although this means the posts are not immediately shown, we hope the Forum provides a very different service to instant messaging, while keeping it a safe place.’

The forum will also have message boards and photos of other types of services that Nelson’s Journey provides, including the youth ‘NJ clubs’  that take place in 6 locations around the county, and the activity days and residential weekends held at Hilltop Outdoor Centre near Sheringham.

‘We are hoping this will encourage children who are not so confident about going to a club or on one of our weekends to see what to expect and to see other children, a similar age to themselves, having used these services, enjoyed them and felt the benefit of them. This is a great gateway for us in to helping those with low confidence get the help and support they need for their bereavement issues.’

Current service user Kyia, who is 15 years old from Caister, told us that the forum is very easy to use and will help other children and young people like herself to feel better about themselves and their feelings surrounding their bereavement ‘I felt better after using it. I said what I wanted to say and got it all off my chest. It helps a lot. Everyone knows what you’re going through on there.’

For more information about Nelson’s Journey, please visit their website at

About Nelsons Journey

During 2014, Nelson’s Journey saw an increase of nearly 20% in the demand for its service (a 25% increase was experienced in 2013). The Norfolk based charity believe this is largely down to local government funding cuts and scaling down of support services for these vulnerable individuals.  During 2014 they received 596 referrals for bereaved children and young people needing support for bereavement issues.

Nelson’s Journey has been operating for 17yrs is a registered charity providing a service for children and young people aged 0-17 years inclusive, living in Norfolk, who have experienced the death of a significant person in their life.  We aim to improve the emotional well being of bereaved children by:  increasing their confidence and self belief, providing education about the causes of death, enabling families to talk openly about their bereavement.  We also provide opportunities to remember those who have died and help children to express and understand their emotions.

Nelson’s Journey endeavours to ‘Bring back smiles to bereaved children’.

It is currently estimated that 1 in 29 school aged children have experienced the death of a parent or sibling, in Norfolk this equates to approximately 3,825 children.  This figure is significantly higher when pre-school children and 17 year olds are included. 



Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2016 18:55

Related items

  • GoGoHares Going Going Gone!

    The sun shone and Norwich was alive with trail maps and people following their app to find the GoGoHare sculptures around Norfolk for eleven weeks.

    With 50 hare sculptures in the city and 18 in the county the feedback has been that many people have loved the variety of art styles, and had great family time ticking off the sculptures, whilst enjoying fresh air and visiting places for the first time. 

    Norfolk children’s charity Break in partnership with Wild in Art have organised the GoGoHares sculpture trail bringing fun, education and creativity to Norfolk throughout the summer of 2018.  There have also been 164 leverets around the county as part of the learning programme called GoGoCreate.

  • Nelson’s Journey shortlisted for national award

    Nelson’s Journey has been shortlisted in the national Children & Young People Now Awards 2018.  The Norfolk charity has been selected as a finalist in the Charity category for their Youth Panel’s work on the Smiles & Tears smartphone app, a tool for bereaved children and young people to access following the death of a special person in their life.  

    Now in their thirteenth year, the Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families, recognising innovation and excellence in organisations that work with and support this age group.

  • Help Tia to help Toby

    The youngest member of the Tia's Treasures Team Toby had his first Tonic Clonic Seizure in March and has since had over 30, 5 of which required a 999 call, after various tests Toby was diagnosed with Epilepsy in May, he has Focal Seizures which then generalise into Tonic Clonics, Focal Motor Seizures, Absences and just recently Drop Seizures.

    Tia took it upon herself to set up a Justgiving Crowdfunding page called Help Tia To Help Toby, Tia raised over £1000 so she was able to achieve her goal of purchasing Toby a Seizure Alarm, she then managed to fund another 3 alarms and she has no plans in stopping there, she has now set up a new appeal called Help Tia To Help Others and plans on fundraising for as many Seizure Alarms as she can, these are life saving and life changing.

  • ‘Get Up and Go Yellow’ for East Anglian Air Ambulance this National Air Ambulance week

    East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) is asking the public to help them celebrate National Air Ambulance Week (10-16 September) by taking part in their ‘Get Up and Go Yellow’ fundraising day on Thursday 13th September.

    The charity wanted to host a day that anyone could get involved with anywhere at any time, and came up with the idea to donate and go yellow. Everyone can take part, either alone or with friends, family, work colleagues, schools, groups or whoever you want to get involved. All you need to do is get up and wear, bake, make, create and go yellow in homage to the charity’s yellow helicopter. You could have a wear it yellow to work day (with your boss’s permission of course), bake some yellow cakes, hold a yellow raffle, guess the number of yellow sweets in the jar, decorate your desk yellow and so much more.

  • Air Ambulance travel the county presenting ‘Norfolk Inspiration Awards’ in celebration of Norfolk Day

    East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) have today been travelling the county presenting their very own Norfolk Inspiration Awards in celebration of Norfolk Day. Three team members from the charity drove the charity’s rapid response vehicle (RRV) emblazoned in the charity colours to surprise the recipients and present a trophy to some truly inspirational supporters.

    The charity wanted to celebrate some of the fantastic people around the county that are an inspiration to them in their work, and by working alongside the family and friends of the recipients they managed to make the day a complete surprise for those who had won. Stuart Wyle, Head of Community Fundraising at EAAA, said “What an honour it has been to be able to present these awards and show our appreciation to some inspirational people, who make the life-saving work we do possible. As we drove out today our Anglia One crew flew overhead and out on a mission, reminding us that that the work these fantastic people help us do every day means we are there when someone needs us. Norfolk Day has provided us a platform to show off some of the very best of Norfolk.”