Make or break cash drive for charity service

A CHARITY that helps bereaved Cambridgeshire children has launched a make or break campaign to raise £55,000 in less than 50 days. The Stars Children s Bereavement Support Service needs the help of the county s residents and businesses to ensure it can co

A CHARITY that helps bereaved Cambridgeshire children has launched a make or break campaign to raise £55,000 in less than 50 days.

The Stars Children's Bereavement Support Service needs the help of the county's residents and businesses to ensure it can continue its work.

Each year, for five years, Stars has been offering free pre and post- bereavement support to 150 children and their families.

But now the charity is in desperate need of cash donations so it can continue to offer its services.


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Janet Rand, chairman of trustees at Stars, told The Hunts Post: "We urgently need funds to keep providing support workers.

"There is no other bereavement support service specifically for children available in Cambridgeshire."

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The service is offered to any young people up to 19 who has experienced the death of a person close to them. About 70 per cent have experienced the sudden death of a loved one.

Ms Rand said: "We offer our service through both one-to-one sessions and group activities so children can meet other children in a similar situation and share some of their experiences."

The charity will receive £55,000 over the next three years from BBC Children in Need, but it needs to match that amount through fundraising to guarantee the grant - by the end of January.

Ms Rand said: "We have to match by the end of January 2008. If we miss our target, we will miss out on this money and will have to close the service down."

One of the children who turned to Stars when her father was killed in a car accident is 13-year-old Chelsey Burgess.

She said: "Three years ago, my dad was killed in a car accident on the A10. I had amazing help and counselling from Stars who were there right from the beginning until I no longer needed them.

"My counsellor was called Lyn, and she was brilliant. Speaking with Lyn was like talking to a friend. It doesn't take away the pain of not having a dad any more but it helps to talk to someone who is skilled to listen and support.

"I would not want anyone to ever go through what I had to go through. It is the worst thing that can ever happen to you. There are so many children that need Stars so much and if the charity closes those children will suffer even more than they already have done."

Chelsey has nominated Stars to her school's charity committee and they have been raising money through non-school uniform days, raffles and teacher versus pupil competitions.

Stars was granted the cash from Children in Need in August but, because of problems in its fundraising department, time is now running out for it to raise the necessary match-funding.

INFORMATION: If you would like to help Stars Children's Bereavement Service, contact the chair of trustees, Janet Rand, on 01223 216815 or visit www.ccbss.org.uk

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