Support During & Post Covid Crisis.

At Rainbows Bereavement Support GB we are committed to supporting young people and adults grieving a significant and often devastating loss in their lives. During these difficult and uncertain times caused by the Coronavirus pandemic we are striving to support all who need our advice and guidance.

Our Resource Centre staff have returned to normal full time working (Monday to Thursday) from the 8th March 2021.

If you would like to order additional Rainbows materials you can place orders directly at our Rainbows GB National Resource Centre ( 0161 624 2269)

  • This website also provides lots of background on what Rainbows provides and the impact it has for Children experiencing significant loss in their lives. (See our Research Documents Page : Here )
  • If your school is not currently providing RainbowsGB programmes then find out more : Here
  • We have provided a link on our News Page to an excellent free publication which will help Parents and Teachers explain to younger children what the Coronavirus is and why they need to take the actions required by the Government and the Medical professionals.

We offer quality training in bereavement, grief and loss to Staff enabling school staff to support their pupils in a small groups situation. This peer group support is an important part in helping children to deal with their issues of grief, loss and anxiety. The total cost is less than one pupil premium so represents extremely good value.


When Somebody Dies.

How RainbowsGB can help you manage this Crisis

In addition to the Rainbows programmes delivered to Children in schools, Rainbows has also developed a package entitled “When Somebody Dies”. This is a CD and/or Memory Stick based package aimed a school staff, to help them ensure they have the appropriate Bereavement Policies in place and their staff are equipped to deal with the impact of “bereavement or loss” suffered by their pupils. This excellent resource is available via our Rainbows GB National Resource Centre ( 0161 624 2269) it costs just £20.00


Silver Linings

A 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 & Silver Linings – Ages 12 – 17 Edition.

Natural disasters, such as floods, gales, fires, earthquakes or epidemic 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.

All the Documents are free of charge and can be Downloaded Below.

Although the above documents are offered free to download, your support would be much appreciated (see below)


Infection risks during the pandemic kept many people from the deathbed or interment of a loved one. Sue McDermott OBE, whose bereavement work has focused on children, reflects…

In thinking back over the year, my mind is a patchwork of emotions. There have been devastating times when friends have died, a close friend unable to be with his dying wife, a family unable to hold a meaningful funeral; so many feeling unable to say goodbye, our children and grandchildren unable to visit us because of lockdown, shielding and social distancing! And throughout all of this, an unexpected life-threatening health issue denied us the opportunity to gather in support with friends at church. What a difficult year this has been!
Yet through all of this there have been great moments of unexpected hope and joy: speaking with a neighbour for the first time in years; receiving people’s offers of help while we have been shielding; creating new ways of celebrating significant events including my seventieth birthday; making long-intended but hitherto unfulfilled phone calls to friends; seeing friends and family in a new virtual reality. The love I have experienced from my family and friends has brought me great happiness during exceedingly difficult times. Together we have understood that great sadness and uncertainty are also part of our lives, and we have shared many tears over the phone.
All these experiences have brought new meaning to my choice of fabrics while creating and working on this year’s Christmas patchwork quilt. The colour and pattern of each piece of fabric speaks to me of this unique year and my hope for the future. It is a real mixture of love, devastation, loss, celebration, strength, courage and, above all, hope. It makes me think that a simple parish patchwork quilt of this year could help us all on our shared road to adjustment and hope.

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Many of us didn’t expect to say goodbye to loved ones this year. Nor did many of us expect not to be able to say goodbye – without a funeral service or a reception to share our memories, our thanks and our sadness. While we know that death is the natural end of life on this earth and the greater the love the greater the grief, not to have a funeral service for one we love is a tragedy beyond words. Their death needs to be marked and their life remembered.
Through my bereavement ministry over many years, I know that the human response of sensitive listening, kind words and practical help really matter and can be life-giving. We need time and space to grieve alone and in our communities.
Many of us will have been able to gather this November for some form of service of remembrance and thanksgiving. Hopefully, this will have brought us some comfort in the midst of our loss and grief. As we journey through Advent, this year as every year, we will naturally think of those not with us. This year we may need to find a way to express our love for those we couldn’t be with when they died, for those friends whose funerals we couldn’t attend, and for other bereavements and losses.
In my own parish we will be offering a number of opportunities during the last week of Advent to anyone living near our church for a time of prayerful reflection, gentle music and the opportunity to light candles for loved ones. Tea and coffee will be available and a chance to share our stories of loss with sensitive listeners. Parishioners and those visiting will be invited to create their own square of remembrance for our parish patchwork quilt.

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During our Christmas liturgies we will especially remember loved ones who have died this last year. In addition to the usual candles lit in church, others, blessed by the community, will be gifted and lit at home as a sign of love for those who have died, of thanksgiving for those who have helped us this year and a sign of hope in the year to come. These little ways of marking this unique year at Christmas will enable us to be truly present to each other – journeying together in love and hope, true companions on our journey.

Of course, Christmas this year may be especially difficult for some children. Some children will have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives and may not have been able to share the final times with a mum, dad or grandparent. The support that they receive at home and at school on their journey of grief will be crucial and will help them cope in their changed world. They may need reassuring that nothing they did or didn’t do contributed to the death of a loved one. They will need “permission” to be happy at times in a routine which is as “normal” as possible. Hopefully, all schools will offer ongoing bereavement support. More and more schools use the services of Rainbows Bereavement Support GB. Its website ( offers much practical help and guidance, to schools and to parents and carers.
At the height of the coronavirus crisis the words of hope and encouragement that Pope Francis expressed really mattered to me and have stayed with me over the months. They seem even more important now for the coming year:
“Tonight, before falling asleep think about when we return to… when we can hug again… when normality will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift. We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us… when every second will be precious. Strength and courage…” Pope Francis, April 2020
“Strength and courage when alone and when together!” seems to be a mantra to carry forward through and beyond this Christmas. While living with our grief, we journey on into 2021 in love and hope with family and friends. My Christmas gift to myself and those on this journey is one of hope: hope that all the positive effects of our “patchwork year” will be maintained and deepened, living one day at a time.

Sue McDermott OBE is a former Executive Director of Rainbows Bereavement Support GB,, and, following her retirement, remains a patron of the charity.

Please Note: This Article is Copyright protected and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Redemptorist Publications.

The article was originally printed in the Redemptorist Publication Advent Extra 2020, a Kindle version can be purchased via Amazon by clicking on the link below :

Advent Extra 2020: Out of the Wilderness eBook: Fearns, Janet, McBride, Denis, McDermott OBE , Sue, O’Sullivan , Moire , Lumley, John , Kelly, Des, Russell, Lucy, Adhagiuno, Mabel, O’Hanrahan, Emerald, Colwell, Mary: Kindle Store


Rainbows Bereavement Support GB does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations with