About Us

Windmills Childrens Charity

Windmills differs from any other Child Bereavement Charity as we specialise in facilitating or supporting families with breaking bad news conversations with children. Windmills aim is to ensure that every Child & Young person within Staffordshire who are facing or have suffered the loss of someone significant in their lives have access to our service – we therefore provide our services free of charge to all.

Our service is available to children & young people aged 0 – 25 years.

What Do We Do?

Windmills Charity focus on supporting Children and Young People when someone significant in their life receives a terminal diagnosis/prognosis from their Consultant team (whether this is due to illness or injury – including trauma, murder & suicide), through the acute dying process and up to several months after the death has occurred. We offer support when a sudden death has happened but only able to accept a referral within the first four weeks of a death happening.

A Practitioner will be made available 24 hours a day to attend the location where our services are needed . This will include acute healthcare settings. The Practitioner will advocate inclusion of the Child or Young Person within the dying/death process through a bespoke programme of support. During this period the Practitioners will liaise, where appropriate, with other professionals within the community. This may include: Schools, Universities, GP’s, Social Services, Hospices, Police and Fire Service.

Windmills programme of support is totally bespoke so we tailor it to meet the individual needs of each child – we focus mainly on memory making, exploring emotions through art therapy/craft projects and breaking down what is happening for them which aids understanding of the death/illness/injury process and also helps them process the situation – our nursing background and experience is invaluable when it comes to this. Some of the things that we offer are 1:1 support, group/class sessions, breaking bad news conversations, memory boxes, handprints and 3D handcasts to name a few.

Why Are We Needed?

Through many years working as qualified Nurses within the NHS on both Critical Care and Accident & Emergency, we are aware that services for Children & Young People who suffer acute bereavement within Staffordshire are sadly lacking.

In Staffordshire alone, 260 parents per year have died leaving 440 dependent children and young people aged 0-17 years, this means on average, in Staffordshire, 3050 children of school age (5-16 years) have lost a parent or sibling. The incidence of childhood bereavement in youth offenders alone is 10 times higher (41%) than the national average (4%),( Child Bereavement Network 2019).

Childhood Bereavement Network UK recognises that children and young people experience many emotions, dependent on age and level of understanding, when faced with death and dying. They can appear to have inconsistent and frequently changeable reactions which the Network terms as ‘Puddle Jumping’ rather than the consistent grieving behaviour pattern portrayed by an adult.

Our experience is that Children & Young People are considered innocent with childhood idealised to be a perfect entity in today’s society. Many families and healthcare professionals alike, avoid direct inclusion and/or communication with Children & Young People throughout the dying/grieving process. This may be due to many reasons however the common themes are not knowing how to break the bad news and not wanting to be the one who shatters the perceived innocence of the Child or Young Person.

Windmills aims to help families and carers shoulder this burden, and, in the first instance actively advocate the inclusion of Children/Young People in the death process, support them through or even deliver the breaking bad news conversations and plan a bespoke programme of support.

Meet The Team

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Zara Toussaint

Windmills Founder/Professional Carer

Leeanne Clay

Windmills Founder/Professional Carer

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