Children channel their grief through art

Left to right; Belle and Joe Underwood, aged seven and nine,  with Alethea Farline, 15, in front of their animation work at the Made With Love Too exhibition at Sunderland Minster.  Exhibition of work by children who have lost loved ones, created in partnership between Barnardo's North East, the University of Sunderland, HEART and St Benedict's Hospice.

Left to right; Belle and Joe Underwood, aged seven and nine, with Alethea Farline, 15, in front of their animation work at the Made With Love Too exhibition at Sunderland Minster. Exhibition of work by children who have lost loved ones, created in partnership between Barnardo's North East, the University of Sunderland, HEART and St Benedict's Hospice.

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CHILDREN have been channelling their grief into creating works of art.

Three budding young artists took part in a 10-week course and put together a range of colourful work for an exhibition at Sunderland Minster.

Artwork on display at Sunderland Minster created by Altethea Farline, 15, of Monkwearmouth

Artwork on display at Sunderland Minster created by Altethea Farline, 15, of Monkwearmouth

The display – Made With Love Too – is a culmination of the course to help direct the children’s grief of losing loved ones into art and animations.

The idea developed through a partnership between children’s charity Barnardo’s, Sunderland University, Healing Education Animation Research Therapy (Heart), and St Benedict’s Hospice Sunderland.

Funding from the Lily Matthews Fund – a community foundation charity – was also used to fund the project.

The three children are all supported by Barnardo’s, having experienced the death of family members.

Alethea Farline, of Monkwearmouth, created work about her grandparents Catherine and John Lee, who died within a short time of each other.

“My gran and grandpa were always there for me when I was little,” said the 15-year-old.

“They always made me happy and they were happily married for 53 years. My grandpa was so small and cute, he was the best man ever.”

Seven-year-old Belle Underwood, and her brother Joe, nine, of Washington, who live with their dad Paul, scripted animations and painted pictures that reflect how they feel about their mum Lisa’s death.

Joe sings that he “misses her very much” in his animation.

The children took control of their stories, music and artwork while learning the technical and practical aspects of filmmaking.

Carol Butler, manager of Barnardo’s Orchard/Mosaic service, said: “We were delighted to receive this grant. Animation therapy speaks directly to children and young people, engaging them to create pictures and stories to remember and recover.”

Simon Campbell, a therapist with Barnardo’s, said: “I came into this animation project as a counsellor with a background in bereavement, slightly nervous and curious.

“How was this going to work? How could animation be married to grief work? Well, having spent 10 amazing weeks in a swirl and frenzy of creativity, I have been privileged to see first hand, exactly how it does work.”

The exhibition is at Sunderland Minster until Monday, March 11.

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull