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The Butterfly Service is Ardgowan Hospice’s specialist support service for children and young people in Inverclyde.


Our team offers support to young people going through a difficult time in their lives such as if someone close to them has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, or if they have been bereaved.

“A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK; around 23,600 a year. This equates to around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every day.” Child Bereavement UK

The Butterfly Service, like all our services, is free at the point of access to its users. Kind donations and generous grants ensure this vital service in Inverclyde is available where and when needed.

To learn more about Butterfly and how we, and you, can support a young person please click the titles below.

If you would like more information on the Butterfly Bereavement Support Service, please contact:

Janice Lee, Child & Family Support Officer 01475 726830 /

Who We Help At Butterfly

We support children and young people who are going through a difficult time if someone close to them has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness or if they have been bereaved.

We also offer support to families to help them support children and young people at a challenging time.

Advice and information is also available for health and social care professionals, or anyone concerned about a child or young person.

Seasons for Growth is a programme we can deliver in schools to support children and young people.

Seasons for Growth:
The Seasons for Growth programme is based on the belief that change and loss are part of life, and grief is a normal response to these losses.

The programme provides an opportunity for participants to learn the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to understand and respond well to such experiences.

How We Support Children and Young People

In challenging times of illness or death, it can be difficult to know how best to help children and young people affected by the situation. Quite often, our first instinct is to protect children from the
emotional trauma these events bring.

We can help you to support children and young people by:

  • Providing advice on age appropriate language to use when talking to children or young people about illness and death
  • Offering therapeutic support in groups for children, young people and families
  • Providing a range of useful resources such as memory boxes
    and books
Helping Children and Young People to Cope with Bereavement

Our support services offer a safe place for children, young people, families and carers talk about the difficulties they are experiencing.

We support them to talk things through to help them develop coping skills, ways to understand grief and to allow them to deal with their thoughts and feelings. The sessions are a period to reflect and understand what has happened, is happening now or may
happen in the future.

The activities we offer, either on a one to one or group basis, also offer the opportunity to remember the person close to them who has died.

Things You Can Say/Do to Help
  • It is best to tell children the truth—at a level they can understand
  • Allow children to ask questions—even if, to you, some of these seem inappropriate
  • Answer children’s questions simply and honestly.
  • Remember children will move in and out of their grief
  • Allow children to attend the funeral if they wish—first explain what will happen
  • Encourage children to have something to hold on to—such as creating a memory box or photo album
  • Try to maintain routine—death can bring feelings of insecurity
  • Don’t be afraid to show how you are feeling—it is helpful for children to know that you are sad too
  • Remember to tell schools about the death—it will help teachers to offer support
  • Reassure children that they are not to blame—it is common for children to blame themselves for the death