Diocesan Department for Education – H and N Diocese

Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Department for Education


Bereavement Support Great Britain:

Rainbows Bereavement Support GB is a well-respected national charity having a proven, positive impact on the lives of children, young people and adults grieving a significant and often devastating loss in their lives.

Introduced into Great Britain in 1992, the charity now operates in over 1400 schools in England, Scotland and Wales. It is currently available to over 110.000 children and young people.

Rainbows came to schools in the North East in 1995 supporting many grieving children and young people. Rainbows North East, a region of Rainbows Bereavement Support GB was formally established in 2012 to ensure continuity and further development of this important ministry. The Rt. Rev Robert Byrne CO, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, and the Rt. Rev. Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle are our patrons.

Our Mission:

Our mission is quite simply for every child and young person in every school in the Rainbows North East area grieving a significant and often devastating loss in their lives, to be understood and supported appropriately.

To achieve this, Rainbows North East offers training in bereavement and loss, and supports school communities in reviewing or developing their own bereavement policy and procedures. Through our locally based Registered Directors, we offer training in the use of Rainbows age related peer support programmes which help foster emotional healing among children and young people.

Peer support is extremely important in enabling children and young people to articulate their grief, understand that they are not alone and to help them to move forward. On-going support is provided to affirm and advise the trained facilitators and co-ordinators that run the programmes.

Quote from a Teacher in a local Catholic Primary School in North Tyneside, “I feel that Rainbows provides children with an opportunity to share their worries or concerns in a safe environment. It has been a massive help for children with a variety of different circumstances and has played a big part in the healing process.

And from a school in Northumberland, “All staff agree that Rainbows allows children to grow and understand their life experiences. They end the programme with an increased confidence which helps them to become resilient as they move through life. The children understand that it is ‘good to talk’ and that feelings and emotions are natural and a part of being human.

The Rainbows Programmes (a generic name covering all our 12-14 week programmes):

SunBeams: for children in Nursery up to the end of Key Stage One.

Using teddy bears, puppets and play activities, children are helped to express their feelings of loss and to feel supported through their grief.Quote from a bereaved father, “Since attending Sunbeams my son can now speak about his Mum. Thank you for the change you have made in him”


Has three different levels and is suitable for children in Key Stage Two and lower Key Stage Three.

Using journals, story books, games and activities, children learn to talk about their feelings in a safe secure environment with trained caring facilitators. Quotes from children who have participated in the programme,“It helped me by letting all my feelings out”. Year 5 pupil. “I did not know I was not the only one”. Year 3 pupil.

Spectrum: for Secondary age pupils usually from Year 9 upwards.

Spectrum explores a range of themes using journals, discussions and activities to allow young people to express their feelings and begin to develop coping strategies in a safe and secure environment with a trained trusted adult. Quotes from young people who have participated in the programme, “It helped me with my anger and not to bottle up things and that it is okay to talk about things” Year 9 pupil. “It’s a time when I can say everything to someone I trust” Year 9 pupil.

Sunrise: for children and young Adults with special needs, usually in a Special Needs setting.

Silver Linings: Community Crisis Response Bereavement Support Programme

Silver Linings is a Community Crisis Response Bereavement Support Programme. There are two editions; Silver Linings, Ages 7 – 11 Edition and Silver Linings; Ages 12 – 17 Edition.

Natural disasters, such as floods, gales, fires, earthquakes or epidemic/pandemic illness and human driven crises, such as terrorist attacks, loss of life through accidents, suicide, criminal acts or hostage situations, such Crisis Events can thrust people into painful circumstances so suddenly that whole communities grieve as one. When this happens, people become highly vulnerable and experience many emotions that they did not think they were capable of feeling, prior to the crisis event.

Adults who are straining to find answers may be able to cope by supporting each other and by finding ways to exist within this new reality and children will need support too. Rainbows Bereavement Support hopes that Silver Linings Community Crisis Response Programme will help fulfil some of the support needs of the children.

The Silver Linings Programme is an outlet for children in the form of a peer support, crisis response model based on six sessions in which participants share their personal stories, express their feelings, and reconcile the crisis event using their coping skills and move on to the future – knowing that they will be supported by adults who care for them. The closing session allows a participant to select a Personal Goal, which they can control and strive to achieve. To implement the Silver Linings Programme, teachers, classroom assistants and other professionals will lead the activities and guide the discussions to work through the specific topics in each of the Silver Linings Programme sessions.

A site can have an e-copy of the Silver Linings Programme, which includes a Silver Linings Leader’s Handbook containing the Aim & Rationale for each session, as well as complete instructions for participants’ activities and suggestions for discussion questions and a Participant Booklet (Photocopiable) containing age appropriate personal activities, including an opportunity for participants to write down their own ideas and observations and a Silver Linings ‘Sample Letter for Parents/Carers’, which schools can personalise and send out prior to the programme commencing. There is no charge to sites for the Silver Linings Programme, however a donation may be made to Rainbows Bereavement Support GB.

When Somebody Dies: This comprises a CD and set of materials to enable a school to make a practical policy for what would happen in the event of a death or deaths in school. There is a lot of helpful information to support pupils, Staff, parents and the wider community. We offer training to get schools started on the process.

Please note that at this time of Coronavirus, this resource is available for you to down load for free or a small donation. There is quite a lot of helpful information available. Some of our pupils may need a lot of support following the pandemic. Have a look and see how Rainbows can help you.


Local Registered Directors offer high quality training to suit the needs of individual schools. Many schools opt for a full day’s training or three twilight sessions of at least an hour and a half. On–going support is provided to schools through visits, email, phone calls and newsletters. Rainbows North East usually offers an annual training day as appropriate, refresher sessions and training for new facilitators in existing schools.

Research into the Impact of Rainbows and Meeting the Needs of your Pupils:

The work of Rainbows is tried tested, researched, monitored and evaluated; our plans are strategic, specific and realistic. We know the impact of our work is long-lasting and has a tangible impact on people’s lives. Please access the website to read the most recent Research at www.rainbowsgb.org. You will also be able to download links showing how Rainbows contributes to keeping your pupils healthy emotionally and how this is regarded by government organisations, health organisations and other charities.

Financial Investment:
High quality training for all members of staff, specific training for facilitators and co-ordinators, planning and resources for each of the 12-14 week sessions and on-going support are all covered in the ‘set up fee’ of around £790. In subsequent years, a very small budget is required to replace consumables used by the children and young people.

In fact for the use of one single Pupil Premium you can have a resource that will last and be very beneficial. Quote from a Head Teacher, “At a local meeting for SEN Coordinators we were asked to say what had been the most significant use of Pupil Premium money. Without hesitation I said, “Rainbows”.

Registered Directors:

Rainbows Registered Directors are Development Workers who have been trained to offer high quality training and support to schools. For further information they may be contacted through Rainbows North East.
Secretary: Ruth Higginbottom
Email: rainbows.northeast@btinternet.com
Tel: 01670 518546

You can also find further information on the website at www.rainbowsgb.org.