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About Us » What We Do

What We Do

Established in 2003 by Dr Shelley Gilbert MBE, Grief Encounter is one of the UK’s leading bereaved child charities, providing free, pioneering services and support to bereaved children, young people and their families.


1 in 29 children in the UK under the age of 16 will suffer the death of a parent.

Rebuilding a new life after the death of a loved one is hard for everyone, but especially for children and young people. Once the shock and trauma of a life changing event such as bereavement has been managed, finding a way to move forward must begin.

Children have an overwhelming sense of confusion, fear and anxiety, alongside their grief, which must be cared for in order for them to continue into adulthood with a sense of confidence and long lasting happiness.

This is where Grief Encounter makes a difference.

We help families address a multitude of challenging issues following the death of a loved one, alleviating the hurt and confusion caused, whilst promoting healing.


grieftalk, the new, confidential helpline from Grief Encounter

Welcome to ‘grieftalk’, the brand new helpline from Grief Encounter, providing support for you, when you need it.

Are you a child, teenager or adult who has recently experienced the death of a loved one? Do you need to talk? You can call, email or instant chat with trained professionals at grieftalk, 5 days a week, 9am – 9pm.

On average one child in every classroom will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach 16 years of age; 44,000 dependent children bereaved a year. Adolescent grief has a devastating impact that can last for life, with research showing links to mental health issues, social and behavioural problems and more. We’re here to offer you support, and help you on your bereavement journey.

Ways to access help

  • TALK Talk to grieftalk from any phone for free 0808 802 0111
  • Have a 1-2-1 CHAT live session with a grieftalk counsellor
  • TYPE send an email to grieftalk@griefencounter.org.uk

Grief Encounter offers a flexible and accessible service, which aims to professionally care and respond to bereaved children, young people and their families via counselling, group activities, family fun days, residential camps and interactive online services.

We currently directly support over 400 bereaved children, young people and their families every week, relying solely on donations, so we can offer a way to identify and escape from the encompassing feeling of grief.

This does not include the thousands of other bereaved children and families who cannot access our direct services, whom we support in other ways.

Family Programme

Each family’s needs are individual, and change over time. Our level of support is varied, with services ranging from a supportive voice at the end of a phone, group activities with likeminded families at Fundays, Grief Groups and Remembrance Days, to long term one-to-one counselling. Our approach is always bespoke, with professional counsellors, trained in the area of bereavement, determining a personal plan for each individual.
A typical way of getting to know our families might look like this:

  1. Initial contact with family members, usually by telephone, where a qualified Grief Encounter Clinical Team member will offer preliminary information and advice.
  2. Ongoing communication with the family members to gather more information, followed by registration into our Family Programme. If we feel another service at this stage would be more appropriate, we will suggest alternate routes such as CAMHS, educational psychologists, learning mentors, social care or psychiatric services.
  3. One of our qualified and professional Grief Encounter Clinical Team members will carry out a family visit, for assessment to determine what level of support is required; whether that is to meet with other likeminded bereaved families, one-to-one counselling, attendance on Residential Camps or our unique e-counselling model.
  4. Ongoing support is our main concern, ensuring that we offer long term help to our families. We will carry on working with our families and encourage them to attend Grief Groups as part of our family programme, assessing milestones and working with them towards new and more resilient beginnings.

Our two year programme built for families, includes workshops, one-to-one counselling, family fun days, remembrance days and residential camps. The level of involvement a family has is at the discretion of both the Grief Encounter counsellors and individual family members.
All our events are designed with family in mind, and have activities for children, young people and their associated adults.

Specialist Resources

Grief Encounter is very proud to provide specially created Grief Relief Kits, designed by our highly qualified clinical team, to all registered families. The unique kits include; books, memory making materials, comforting toys and other items to facilitate children’s grieving.

E-Counselling Services

Our unique E-counselling service serves the demand of the young, digitally apt community. Young people suffering from bereavement, who would like to contact Grief Encounter from across the UK, can get in contact via electronic methods including e-mail and Skype. Communicating with young people online allows us to access them whenever they need to talk to someone, or when they reach out for advice and guidance. It also allows Grief Encounter to extend our reach across the whole of the UK, and not be limited by location. Contact ecounselling@griefencounter.org.uk for more information.