Supporting bereaved young people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 

“There’s a real legacy there. If you train a [bereaved] child to be a peer mentor, I don’t think that really stops or goes away. They carry on helping people,” Linda Nisbet, Children’s Service Manager, Barnardo’s 

For many bereaved young people, dealing with the loss of a loved one can be a really lonely experience.

That’s why we’re proud to have provided £20,000 to Barnardo’s’ New Horizons peer mentoring project, in Ayrshire, Scotland, which seeks to address this issue.  

Mentors on this project are young people who have experienced bereavement and receive training to help others in the same situation. This means that both mentors and mentees feel less alone and more supported, improving their confidence and mental wellbeing. 

One 16-year-old who’s been helped through this project said:

“I thought it was just me who felt like this. I couldn’t talk to my dad as it just made him sad. Now we are talking about mum all the time and have printed off more pictures and they are now all over the house. This makes me feel better.”  

Helping others 

Barnardo’s Scotland supports children, young people and their families through specialised community-based services across Scotland. They believe that every child and young person has a right to thrive. 

Through New Horizons, the team provides a safe and confidential space for young people to have conversations and explore feelings around bereavement. This means that young people feel able to share their thoughts and feelings, helping their mental health and wellbeing. 

Training as mentors also helps them to gain new skills, as the young people are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences. Mentors are encouraged to develop empathy, listening and leadership skills as they support others through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. 

Linda Nisbet, Children’s Service Manager, said “[Our project] is about raising [bereaved young people’s] confidence and their self-esteem. It’s about resilience – the mentors have been through something themselves, and they want to help others get through it. They want to show others they can do it too and that it does get better.” 

A parent of one young person added: “I can’t remember the last time we did anything together. Having a peer mentor has made the world of a difference. [My son] is a different boy, thank you, Barnardo’s.”  


We’ve been supporting Barnardo’s since December 2020 thanks to funding from Co-op Funeralcare, the UK’s leading funeral provider. Its £120,000 investment allowed us to fund six projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to build on our England-wide work through our #iwill Fund. Read more about our commitment to equitable funding in this blog

So far, 179 young people have participated in this funded activity. We’re delighted to build on this in 2022 by offering support to all six projects with our own funding. This is just one way that we’re delivering on Co-op’s vision of ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’. 

Thank you to all our supporters, including Co-op Members who can donate their Member Reward to us via the Co-op App. 

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