What is Rainbows?

Rainbows is a not-for-profit international organisation, offering training and programmes for establishing peer support groups in communities, schools, churches, and social agencies. The programmes are available to children, young people and adults of all ages who are grieving a death, family change or any other significant loss.

When a change takes place in the family, whether it is a death, divorce, separation or abandonment, it has a profound effect on all the members of the family.
logo for rainbows in diocesan schools project

Grieving is a natural process that comes from the emotional loss. If grief is not dealt with at the appropriate time, it may be repressed or even become chronic. When grief does not have the opportunity to be resolved, it can become debilitating and even destructive. It is an expression of love. It is a normal human reaction to a significant loss.

Frequently, people are not able to express their grief verbally. Instead, it can surface in their behaviour, academic performance, and their physical and emotional wellbeing. Young people are not always able to express their feelings in words. Their parents are suffering as well, and may be unable to support them in the immediate aftermath of loss.

Consequently, grieving children and teenagers need to have a caring adult to guide them through their grief. Even those who appear to be coping are often struggling inside with the churning, conflicting emotions of grief. The bereaved need some-one they can trust and to whom they can talk; some-one who will listen to their story while guiding them through the grief process.

Rainbows was created to provide children, adolescents and adults with an opportunity for healing to take place after a painful loss. This is done through the peer support groups, which provide an opportunity for those grieving to share their feelings in an environment supported by a trained, caring and compassionate adult.

A number of schools in the Diocese are Rainbows Sites – that is, they have members of staff who are trained to offer the programme to children and young people in school. However, the Diocesan Schools’ Service would like to increase the number of schools providing this vital service. On Friday 8th April, a number of people from schools across the Diocese met with Sue McDermott, the National Director of Rainbows, Theresa Laverick, RE Adviser for the Diocese and Caroline Dollard from Marriage and Family Life Ministry to begin the work of establishing a Rainbows Bereavement Support Group. This group would meet once a term to help secure the development of Rainbows within our schools. There is also the need to train more Registered Directors, whose job it is to train schools so that they can become a Rainbows Site.

If you are interested in being part of a support group or training as a Registered Director then please contact Sue McDermott at ;sue.rainbowsgb@btconnect.co&#109 or by telephone on (01302) 359017 or 07725 340623. Alternatively, you can get in touch with Theresa Laverick at readvisor@dioceseofmiddlesbrough.co.uk or by telephone on (01642) 850515.

Theresa Laverick