Youth Health Champions and volunteers make an impact at art exhibition

27 September 2017

Youth Heath Champions and Empathy Project Volunteers, supported by YC Hertfordshire, combined forces to create a powerful photographic exhibition on behalf of the Ollie foundation at last week's Art of Grieving Exhibition.

Youth Heath Champions and Empathy Project Volunteers, supported by YC Hertfordshire, combined forces to create a powerful photographic exhibition on behalf of the Ollie foundation at last week's Art of Grieving Exhibition.

The exhibition was organised by Bereavement Matters and attracted hundreds of visitors over the course of the weekend. The YC Hertfordshire exhibit focused on suicide and its impact and those attending were able to share stories about their own experiences of losing loved ones.

Visitors were able to leave messages in a bottle to those they could no longer speak to. One visitor said: "It was all such a very, very, long time ago but it has been so important to be able to leave this message today."

Stuart Falconer is chairman of The OLLIE Foundation, a charity devoted to stopping young people from taking their own lives. He said: “Anyone that has been through bereavement will tell you that it can knock the stuffing out of you and leave you in a maelstrom of emotion for some time to come.

“Some find it easy to express themselves verbally but not everyone can. The exhibition put on by Bereavement Matters and YC Hertfordshire has provided a forum to those who wish to express their grief through the medium of art.

“The pieces were artistically brilliant and allowed those who saw them to express grief that had been bottled up for some time. It was a further reminder that we are and will always be affected by grief by bereavement and should take steps to address our needs.”

Empathy Project volunteers will provide support to their peers in care, in the community and in children's emergency department at Watford General and the Lister as community navigators. Youth health champions train to complete the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) qualification and also volunteer to deliver peer support and community navigation.  Both projects are run by YC Hertfordshire, part of Hertfordshire County Council.

For more information on how you can get involved in these projects or bring them to your community, please contact debi.roberts@hertfordshire.gov.uk