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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Police funding supports a children’s book to help bereaved families

A North Devon charity which helps bereaved children and their families is benefitting from a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) Community Fund donation.

The bid was submitted by Barnstaple Sector Inspector Andy Wills on behalf of the local charity, Families in Grief, and they were successful in receiving £2,380. The money will be used to produce a children’s illustrated book, along with assembly pack for teachers.  

Inspector Andy Wills explained: “Families in Grief are a wonderful small charity supporting bereaved children, young people and families in North Devon and Torridge. They work closely with representatives from schools to develop awareness of how best to support bereaved children and to give school staff more skills in that area. As part of this they are developing an illustrated book and assembly pack to support educators in teaching grief awareness and equipping children, at an age-appropriate level, to express their grief and understand and regulate their emotions. 
“Grief is not a mental illness but if not supported by those surrounding the bereaved person, it can result in long terms difficulties and impact on life chances, educational attainment and may lead to children taking risks or displaying bad behaviour.”

Devon & Cornwall Police distribute POCA funding to good causes across the two county’s communities. This money is available due to cash and assets being seized and confiscated by the courts from convicted criminals. A variety of local groups and people of all ages have benefitted from the community fund donations.   

Chief Executive Officer of Families in Grief, Naomi Jefferies, added: “The POCA funding is very welcome and we would like to thank the local police for their contribution. This money will be put to very good use by supporting the production of a pastoral support resource including an illustrated story book with follow up activities. This will be shared during assemblies and lessons and distributed to support school staff to use with bereaved children in all primary schools across North Devon and Torridge. The resources can also be used annually in primary schools during national Grief Awareness Week - so will be revisited and built upon during children's progression through primary school.”

Many of the schools supported have children from vulnerable families. The school pastoral teams, who will be using the resource, support children with social, emotional and mental health needs, who often face a number of barriers to accessing help and support. Providing this support within school increases accessibility and prevents them from going under the radar. School staff are best placed to identify the children who could benefit from activities detailed in the workbook, to ensure their grief is recognised, validated and supported.

The book is due to be printed later this summer and will hopefully be available to schools for the start of the autumn term in September 2024. 

For more information about the charity please visit their website:

To get regular updates from your local police team please follow Barnstaple Police on Facebook or @BarumPolice on X

If you wish to find out more about the Police Community Fund and how to apply please speak to one of your local neighbourhood police officers. Barnstaple police station public enquiry office is open Monday to Saturday between 9:30am and 4pm.

Pic shows Insp Andy Wills (left) and Families in Grief CEO Naomi Jefferies. 

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:


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