The UK’s first and only purpose-built dedicated child bereavement centre; the Alder Centre has been officially opened at Alder Hey, Liverpool UK.
The Alder Centre is unique and the only one of its kind in the country. It is a national centre of excellence providing outstanding bereavement and grief counselling with care and education for anyone affected by the death of a child.
The Centre Team work closely with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to provide bereavement support services and counselling for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, under any circumstances, no matter how recent or long ago.
The £2.1m new building has been fully funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity including £1m from Libor funding.
The new Alder Centre building, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, will be officially opened on Friday 10thSeptember 2021 by Emma Weaver and her family and Antoinette Sandbach.
Emma Weaver, from Neston, Merseyside used the Alder Centre services after she lost her daughter Georgie in May 2014. Georgie was born earlier than expected with Tracheal Agenesis, a rare condition in which the windpipe fails to develop and passed away at just five days old.
Emma’s eldest daughter Jess, 13 has gone on to raise just over £25,000 for Alder Hey in memory of Georgina.
“The Alder Centre played a huge part in helping us come to terms with our grief and heartache in the early days after Georgie died. We sought help when we were struggling and Jess in particular found strength and courage from seeing her counsellor and attending events where she could spend time with other bereaved siblings. She has since accessed the service again as a teen which was a great succour.
“Being asked to open the new Alder Centre has been such an unexpected honour and privilege. It means so very much to our family to be asked to attend and be part of the event. We are very proud of Jess for all she does to keep Georgie’s memory alive.”
Antoinette Sandbach, who was a MP for Eddisbury used the Alder Centre’s services after she lost her son Sam in 2009 from sudden infant death syndrome. Antoinette was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss and has campaigned for more specialist bereavement centres like the Alder Centre throughout the UK and was instrumental in helping to secure Libor funding for the new building.
Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Eddisbury said:
“As a mother who benefited from the counselling support given by the Alder Centre I know what this new counselling centre will mean for the families who will use it. I am so proud to have been able to help give back to the Centre and secure £1 million in Libor funding. Child loss affects so many families and the Alder Centre provides free specialist counselling and support to families in the North West – it is wonderful to see the beautiful space which will deliver these services in a setting which will provide the tranquil and supportive environment families like mine need. I am really grateful to those who have supported the charity and the donations they have given to make this happen.”
Louise Shepherd, CBE, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:
“The Alder Centre is part of the ongoing delivery of Alder Hey’s world class Campus for children and young people and their families. The new Centre has been designed around the outstanding expertise and real experience of families themselves and the dedicated staff and volunteers who help run it. It will have a positive impact on the lives of families right across the UK and become a centre of excellence from which others can learn.”
The £2.1m funding for the new building was secured by Alder Hey Children’s Charity. Fiona Ashcroft, CEO of Alder Hey Children’s Charity said:
“The new Alder Centre looks absolutely fantastic and will continue to provide an essential service to those who need it. It is thanks to charitable donations from our incredible supporters that have allowed us to make this happen. We couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you.”
Last year the Centre supported 174 new families through their bereavement team and provided counselling to 200 referrals bereaved through child loss.
The new facility includes counselling rooms, flexible recreational space and a holistic therapy room
s with every room having a view and access to the communal gardens. In addition, a large central ‘Heart Space’ easily accessible on entry will support the service by offering an open access approach to bereaved families to drop-in for support. It sits within Alder Hey’s evolving health campus and creates the perfect facility to provide a whole host of new and varied therapeutic services for bereaved families and hospital staff.
Fiona Berry, The Alder Centre Service Manager said:
“I speak on behalf of all staff when I say what an honour it is to work for The Alder Centre. We often get asked how we do what we do and our answer is always that it’s a privilege. We look forward to continuing to support people bereaved by child loss in our beautiful new building.”
You can watch the officially opening at 5pm via www.aldercentre.org.uk