In a touching gesture to children who have recently lost loved ones, community group Friends of Phillips Park Cemetery have set up a permanent feature where children can visit to grieve.
The project, supported by Manchester City Council, is thought to be the first of its kind in any cemetery across the UK.
The project was established to help young people learn and accept that grieving is a natural part of bereavement. Whilst the feature is a physical space they can go to, the broader aim of the project is to offer guidance and direction to young people and their families, helping them access appropriate support if they are struggling.
It is also hoped that having this feature in the cemetery setting will help to break down any fears for young people in this environment.
The l project itself consists of signage for both children and carers with information about how to contact local support groups and charities that specialise in the support bereavement. These signs indicate the start and finish points of the “Teddy Paws Trail” featuring a nature hunt of hidden animal carvings and animal themed rubbing posts, with an activity pack available for children to complete along the way.
As well as creating a place where children can learn to grieve and find support. It is hoped that the additional features in this wonderful peaceful green space, offers the opportunity for young people to learn about biodiversity through the activities. This in turn is intended to help them reconnect with nature and offer a temporary respite.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, said: “Everyone knows how hard these past few months have been, but for those children who may have had to deal with losing loved ones for the first time, it must have been unimaginably difficult.
“For many young people it could have been the first time dealing with bereavement and in what seems to be such a chaotic world they might not have had the opportunity to grieve properly.
“I think the project is a wonderfully considerate gesture by the friends of Phillips Park Cemetery and I am sure it will go on to help many young people who will no longer have to suffer in silence.”