Selesti were absolutely brilliant in working so closely with our Youth Panel to ensure that the App’s functionality was exactly how the young people had proposed. By working so closely in partnership, bereaved children across the world are now able to freely download a tool that can help them at a really difficult time.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive.

Children In Need

BBC Children In Need funding for this project was secured based on the fantastic care Nelson’s Journey provide.

The app has 5 main aims:

  • to help increase the self-esteem of bereaved children and young people
  • to allow bereaved children and young people to express their feelings and understand their emotions
  • provide opportunities to remember the person who has died
  • provide education about bereavement
  • help families talk more openly about their bereavement

Award-winning virtual coping strategies

Launched in early 2016, the app has helped over 1,000 young people globally. In 2018 Smiles & Tears was awarded ‘highly commended’ at the national Children & Young People Now Awards within the Charity category — placing them 2nd out of 9 finalists.

This is a huge achievement. The Children & Young People Now Awards has become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families, recognising innovation and excellence in organisations that work with and support this age group.

“Nelson’s Journey is absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for this prestigious national award. We’re particularly delighted that the contribution of children and young people to the development of our services has been recognised.

As a charity that works to support the needs of young people, we believe that young people themselves have a vital role to play in making sure that our services are relevant. Our youth panel, made up of young volunteers, has a fantastic record of developing and delivering projects that we can offer to support bereaved children.”

Simon Wright, Chief Executive, Nelson’s Journey

In 2017 the app also received a Good Funeral Award in recognition of the invaluable support it offers.

We put the charity's services and activities into the child's pocket, including;

  • diary to log how they are feeling
  • jar to collect memories of their lost loved one
  • balloon release ceremony as a symbol of letting go of negative feelings of grief
  • advice and support whatever the time or situation

Creating an intuitive app

We were keen to involve Nelson's Journey Youth Panel heavily in the project throughout the process — from scope definition and design through to testing. Understanding and being sympathetic to this target audience was the most important measurement of success for this app.

The designers have grasped the look and feel that we wanted to achieve, it is young person friendly and clearly targeted at those users.

Sophie Berry, Funding & Marketing Manager, Nelson's Journey

BBC Children In Need Funding TV Segment

Nelson’s Journey were awarded funding from the BBC Children In Need’s small grants programme. This is quarterly funding which Children In Need have available to support charities such as Nelson’s Journey — where a relatively small sum of money can make a big difference for children and young people.

Along with the hugely positive impact the grant has had financially for Nelson’s Journey, the Norfolk-based charity has received masses of support and publicity as a result of working with BBC Children In Need; including mentions on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

BBC Children in Need were so excited about funding the app that they decided run a special week-long feature via the BBC iWonder portal focussing on child bereavement, helping to highlight the challenges faced by young people who experience the death of a significant person in their life.