The Alder Centre

Bereaved parents or adults

Bereaved Parents -  Counselling & Support

The Alder Centre offers care and education for anyone affected by the death of a child.

We have a range of support services to parents or bereaved adults:


Counselling is offered to anyone affected by the loss of a child no matter where that death occurred. Counselling can be provided on a one-to-one basis, as a couple or within a group context. We have a team of counsellors and volunteers who are here to support anyone affected by the death of a child of any age. In Alder Hey we work closely with the Bereavement Care team to provide a continuum of support following the death of a child in the hospital or community. Additional support is offered to the brothers and sisters of the deceased child in a way which helps them to express their feelings and normalize their loss. This may take place within the family unit, with other children or on a one-to-one basis with an experienced facilitator. We also offer the same range of support to those parents affected by the death of an adult child.

We encourage family groups to attend together so that everyone is given the chance to talk and to listen to one another. In that way each member of the family understands how the others are coping or not coping with their loss. However, individual family members of all ages sometimes need to talk to a counsellor on their own about matters they are unable at present to communicate to the others.

If a child or young person is seen on their own, they are given the choice whether or not to invite other family members to join the session at the end, but the child decides what is talked about, not the counsellor. Children often benefit from fewer sessions than an adult but they may return for further counselling as their understanding develops and their way of grieving changes.

We also provide resources for parents, schools and other professionals, enabling them to support children and young people who have been bereaved.

Where will I be seen?

Services are free and normally offered at the Alder Centre. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions all face to face counselling is suspended and you will be offered either a telephone or online counselling session.

How do I access the service?

Anyone in need of support can contact us between the hours of 9am and 5pm on 0151 252 5391


The Alder Centre recognises that not all those bereaved will want, or benefit from, professional intervention and may prefer the support of a bereaved volunteer who is trained in the skill of befriending. The Alder Centre is able to offer clients the chance to meet face to face with a bereaved parent volunteer in a befriending arrangement. Meetings are organised by the Centre’s volunteer coordinator and take place at the Alder Centre. Befriending can be an addition to counselling and group work, or an alternative to them. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions all face to face befriending is suspended and you will be offered either a telephone or online counselling session.

Therapeutic breaks

These run annually and provide the perfect opportunity for families, individual parents, adults and children to meet with others who are also bereaved. This therapeutic family break is supported by trained Alder Centre Volunteer Befrienders who are themselves bereaved parents, the weekend breaks are paid for from the Alder Centre’s fund-raising activities. Check out details of our latest Therapeutic Break here.

Telephone helpline

The Volunteer Child Death Helpline runs in conjunction with Great Ormond Street Hospital and is a freephone service for all those affected by the death of a child of any age. Trained, supervised and supported bereaved parents answer all calls. The helpline is open every day throughout the year.

Freephone from landlines: 0800 282 986

Freephone from mobiles: 0808 800 6019

  • Monday to Friday: 10.00 – 13.00
  • Tuesday & Wednesday: 13.00 – 16.00
  • Every evening: 19.00 – 22.00

An interpreting service is available. For more information please visit the Child Death Helpline website.

Contact us on

or 0151 252 5391

We are available on weekdays 9am to 5pm (4.30pm on Fridays).

Find us

The Alder Centre has temporarily moved to the old Alder Hey hospital and is easily accessible from Alder Road. Our postal address is:

The Alder Centre
Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Eaton Road
L12 2AP 

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