To launch the new charity partnership, Charity Director, Catherine Hodgson, visited the CooperBurnett offices to tell team members about the vital support the charity provides.
Jigsaw (South East) supports children and young people before, during and after bereavement in Surrey, Mid Sussex, Crawley, West Kent and surrounding areas. They are a small charity, with a big heart, and a vision to ensure that no child or young person faces bereavement alone. The unique service they provide is tailored to meet the needs of the families they support, whether in person, on the phone or online.Jigsaw helps families cope with their grief and rebuild their lives, one piece at a time.
Currently the charity supports almost 600 children a year although, through a ‘ripple effect’ Catherine explained that this support is spread to around 1,500 individuals each year (if you consider the assistance also provided to bereaved parents, friends and other close relatives). The charity offers a helpline, in addition to pre-bereavement support and grief support.
“Our aim is that children are able to move forward positively,” said Catherine. “It’s also really heartening when a family says they no longer need our services – but our door is always open for them.”
Referrals to the charity – which can come from families, schools, social services, other charities and GPs for example – are increasing month on month and some of the children Jigsaw (South East) support have additional vulnerabilities to cope with as well, such as domestic abuse within the home or an immediate need to leave their home. The charity has also seen an increase in the number of referrals from children who have be affected by a traumatic bereavement or may have witnessed a death, such as a road traffic accident or even murder.
One parent, who has children supported by Jigsaw (South East), said: “Meeting other children that have been through a loss has helped them not feel so alone.”
Catherine shared the story of Sarah (not her real name) who had experienced the death of her Father during her GCSE studies. While she and her Mother were close, her Mother recognised that Sarah – who was tearful and angry – needed to talk to somebody outside of her immediate family.
The charity not only invited Sarah and her Mother to sessions (both together and individually) but gave advice to teachers in her school as well. They also gave reassurance and ideas of ways to cope with the first Fathers’ Day, as well as inviting them to social events, where they’ve met others in a similar situation. Now Sarah says she feels more accepting of her Father’s death, less guilty around some of her decisions at the time and less angry.
Catherine explained that the charity has plans to launch a support service for young adults, aged 18-25, who often don’t get the bereavement support they need after the death of a significant family member. Jigsaw (South East) is also looking at introducing a legacy programme.
CooperBurnett involves the whole team when selecting a charity to support. Suggestions are sought, a short list is created and a vote is taken. Once a charity is chosen, the firm’s charity committee - consisting of Katie Hilsdon from our Corporate and Commercial team; Head of Accounts, Gareth Warner; and Lisa Connolly from our Residential Property team - drives the fundraising.
“We were very grateful to Catherine for giving us an overview of the amazing support provided by Jigsaw (South East) and excited to start our new charity partnership,” says Lisa Connolly, Senior Associate Licensed Conveyancer. “The CooperBurnett charity committee is now busy thinking of ways to raise money for this amazing charity, as well as considering our next big challenge. Over recent years, we’ve completed the Three Peaks Challenge, cycled from London to Paris in 24 hours, and walked 100km in one day as part of the Race To The King challenge… so watch this space.”
Adds Catherine Hodgson from Jigsaw (South East): “We are absolutely delighted that CooperBurnett has chosen to support Jigsaw South East. Their help will enable us to continue providing vital services to bereaved children and young people, and those facing the death of a loved one, right across our local communities.”