We climbed Kilimanjaro in June 2016 to raise awareness of the huge mountain of challenges many families are facing and to raise money to fund research into the emotional and spiritual needs of the siblings of children and young people living with complex-care needs.
This research is currently underway to understand how to support them better on their own mountain journey.
To read about our journey please see our blog page.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s NHSFT, Centre For Paediatric Spiritual Care is carrying out this research.
Siblings are often dealing with feelings of loss of how family life used to be, loneliness, guilt and anger, which can lead to difficulties in school, friendships, and low self esteem. These siblings often do not have a way to express their needs and can easily go unnoticed within the many needs of the family.
We have started to run groups in a school in Birmingham. We use creative activities to help the children and young people express their emotions and talk about their experiences, finding common ground and understanding.
Valuing the Individual
We aim for every child in the family to know that they are seen, known and loved.
We hope to do this by pairing local volunteers with families, to invest time and energy in to supporting the siblings and parents.
We are also liaising with existing organisations that support families, to help increase support siblings for siblings within these families.
Buddy Sibling System
This is a hopeful future project to enable older siblings to support younger siblings in other families, inspiring them to use their experience to help other siblings to know they are valued and supported.
Training and Awareness
We plan to use research evidence along with the experiences from sibling groups to raise awareness about the challenges these siblings and families face. We also aim to develop in training packs that can be used in healthcare settings, schools and faith based communities.
We are starting to make resources to be used in a wide variety of settings.
We plan to use the arts to create books, plays and craft activities to help families and communities talk about their feelings and issues that are often too hard to verbalise.