Published: Monday, 30th May 2022

A Bolton teenager has used his own experience to help young people to talk about loss in a safe and informal setting.

Bereavement cafeBolton Youth MP Harry Brannagan worked with grief recovery specialist Jane Dixon to adapt her existing Bereavement Cafe to a youth-led event at the Octagon Theatre in May.

The 14-year-old Westhoughton High School student felt passionately that more support was needed for bereaved young people in Bolton.

Working with Jane, he consulted with other young people, met local agencies and delivered a service which directly responds to the needs of those that use it.

The sessions are aimed at children and young people aged 11 to 17, who live or go to school in Bolton.

The cafe provides a safe and informal environment exclusively for young people as an alternative setting to counselling.

Bolton Council has helped Harry with advice and guidance, and to secure funding from The Virtual School.

The cafe is also supported by Friends of Voice 4 U and The National Lottery.

The next event is planned for July 4 at 5pm at the Octagon Theatre.

Harry said: “I feel that young people really need bereavement support and the Bereavement Cafes developed with Jane aim to provide support in an informal and relaxed way.”

Jane said: “Sadly, we will all suffer a bereavement in life, yet we don’t prepare our children and those around them to have difficult conversations about their thoughts and feelings around death

“At The Bereavement Cafe we want to encourage and empower everyone to feel confident in this taboo subject.

“These youth led sessions are a great chance for children and young people to talk to each other, know that how they feel is normal, be heard and meet others in a similar situation to themselves.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:

“Congratulations to Harry who has identified a real need for a service like this and worked tirelessly to make it a reality.

“To set up something like this at such a young age shows remarkable maturity and a real desire to help others.

“I encourage any children or young people in Bolton who have experienced bereavement to find out more and attend the cafe in the future.”

For more information about the Bereavement Cafe, email and follow @cyp_bereavementcafe on Instagram for updates.