A bereavement group has been set up to support students at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy who have lost a parent or close relative.
Currently eight students attend weekly meetings where they can discuss their feelings with their peers and they have also joined together to create a memorial garden at the academy.
The group was created by Eileen Stringer, a family resource worker at the academy, who came up with the idea after running one-to-one sessions and group work on a smaller scale with some of the young people affected.
She said: “I’d done one-to-one sessions and some group work and I just thought it would be a good idea for the students to support each other.
“They can talk to adults but they don’t always want to and I think it’s often easier for students to talk to young people the same age as them who are under the same pressures. They understand each other.
“They can come to the meetings and talk about whatever they want; it doesn’t have to be to do with their feelings about losing a relative. It’s a great release for them.
“This school is excellent when it comes to supporting students.”
Fourteen-year-old Amy Tatler lost her mum and Evie Young’s dad died of a brain tumour last year.
Evie, 15, said: “We can talk about whatever we want in the meetings, it could be something we are feeling angry about and just need to let it out. It’s good for me because my dad used to be the person I would go to in that situation.”
Ellie Bowley’s mum died in 2007. The 15-year-old said: “I don’t really talk about it to anybody else as it’s quite upsetting. I like this group though as we have all become friends.”
Morgan Mitchell’s mum died when they were on holiday.
The 16-year-old said: “The other thing we have done is write down our memories and thoughts and put them inside a soft toy, no-one else is allowed to look at what we have written.”
Cody Tucker, 16, who lost his mum to cancer, said: “This group is a really good idea because it gives you someone to talk to who knows what it’s like, how you are feeling and what you’ve been through. After my mum died I felt angry and Mrs Stringer has definitely helped me to deal with that.”
Robert Naylor’s mum died last year. The 13-year-old said: “Coming to this group has really helped me. I think Mrs Stringer is the best person ever.”

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