A DEDICATED support service for children coping with bereavement is to be launched in Glasgow.

The charity Richmond's Hope, run by the Church of Scotland, is to expand it's services to Scotland's largest city.

Up to 64 children are expected to be helped in the first year by trained staff based at Ibrox Parish Church.

The service is open to children aged four to 18 of any faith and none and has helped more than 3,000 children since it was launched 14 years ago.

Children are offered therapeutic play and specialised grief activities to help them understand how the death has impacted them. 

It also gives children a safe place to capture memories of the person that died, explore their feelings and develop coping strategies for the future.

The charity was approached by the Scottish Government and asked if there was scope to expand services to Glasgow. It will be launched at the start of Children's Grief Awareness Week, which runs from November 17-23.

The Child Bereavement Network estimates that 5% of children in Scotland will lose a parent by the time they reach the age of 16. 

One in 29 children across the UK has lost a parent or sibling.

Richmond's Hope was founded by Rev Liz Henderson who was shocked how little support there was for young people coping with bereavement.

She said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of children and young people struggling to come to terms with grief.

"For them, the death or a friend or relative can be very hard to understand. 

"It’s incredible that one in 29 children in the UK has lost a parent or sibling.

That means that in most schools, there is likely to be at least one child in each class who could need support.”

“We set up our new service in Glasgow after we were approached by the Scottish Government, which was impressed by the success we have had in Edinburgh. 

"We are launching at the start of Children’s Grief Awareness week, as we’re confident once people know about us there will be a high demand.  

"We want to make sure children across the city can access our support at this difficult time in their lives.”

Georgie McArthur, 20, was 14 when she was referred to Richmond’s Hope following her father’s sudden death. 

She said: "I instantly thought it was my nana because she was in hospital at the time and so I burst out crying. 

"I fell to the floor and my mum said no, it's your dad and I just started screaming and I was violently sick because I just felt sick at the thought it was him.  And I was just asking myself why....it can't be true and I was saying to my mum, you're lying, you're lying."

Professor Hazel Scott, from NHS Education for Scotland, said:  "Children are very resourceful, but they can also be harmed and confused by mixed messages. 

"These communications are remembered for decades and it is hugely important to get that moment right.” 

For more information go to www.richmondshope.org.uk/