I’m the CEO of Apart of Me, a design-led company that supports young people and their families through the heartbreak of grief.
To respond to the grief pandemic over the last 18 months, our organisation grew to now over 140 volunteers who helpes us launch our core service, a therapeutic mobile game, in 3 new languages – Spanish, German, Italian.
In a welcome boost for our organisation, our application to become a charity was not just approved, but fast-tracked by the Charity Commission. The Commission acknowledged both the importance of or service to children and young people affected by grief and the time-sensitive nature of the work given the legacy of loss caused by Covid-19.
In a second piece of good news for the charity, it was announced this week that we had been named winners in the London Mayoral Resilience Fund, set up by Mayor Sadiq Khan to help the capital city bounce back against Coronavirus. Apart of Me has been appointed to run projects to help BAME young people in London bereaved due to coronavirus. BAME young people are almost 3 times more likely to have lost loved ones in the pandemic, less likely to access traditional counselling or CAMHS services, are much more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. The need to provide them with accessible and inclusive grief support is paramount
Apart of Me launched in 2018 as an innovative app-based adventure game that helps bereaved children use their mobile phones or tablets to help cope with the grief and confusion caused by the loss of a loved one.
When we launched Apart of Me a couple of years ago, little did we know how badly it would be needed today, with so many children and young people left grieving for loved ones as a result of Covid-19. Whilst all the talk at the moment is of our desire to return to normality, millions of children around the world have lost parents, grandparents and care-givers from this pandemic. They need our support.”
Having our registration expedited by the Charity Commission not only confirms the urgency of our mission, but it will also allow us to fundraise and accelerate towards our goal of helping every grieving young person transform their grief into compassion.
From the outset the goal for Apart of Me was to combine bereavement-counseling techniques with 3D animation and gaming developments to create an app-based game that could help children and young people find a path through grief to compassion. Since then, the app has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times, receiving critical acclaim from clinical leaders and those who have used it.
Henry, who was 18 when his father died of cancer, describes the impact the game had on him. “Apart of Me was my guiding light in the dark when I felt incredibly alone, lost and confused. It helped me to understand what I was going through and took the loneliness of the whole experience away.”
A worldwide focus on mental health in recent years has seen established game developers attempt to tackle the concepts of anxiety and self-worth head-on. Apart of Me have been pioneers in this field. We have collaborated with 140 skilled volunteers around the world to build and launch our app, which was highlighted as a best-in-class app for safe and accessible support by Good Thinking, London’s Digital Mental Wellbeing Service (backed by the London Mayor’s office, Public Health England, London councils, the NHS and ThriveLDN).
Our work has previously been acknowledged by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, under the Government’s ‘Points of Light’ scheme. In a personal letter to Apart of Me, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you have created innovative, accessible grief counselling which has supported thousands of young people in the UK and abroad.”