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Noah’s Ark hosts first Butterfly Group for bereaved families

22 MARCH 2018

Noah’s Ark offers tailor-made post-bereavement support for families for up to three years following the death of a child.

Our Family Link Workers and Therapies Team are available for individual support as required, and we have now introduced a new group specifically for bereaved families to attend together.

We recently hosted our very first Butterfly Group where both parents and children alike were able to tap into their own individual creativity. Materials were available to decorate vases, paint glass jars for holding candles, and press flowers while they got to know each other and shared their unique experiences over tea, coffee, juice and cake. They went away with their creations along with a bunch of flowers and the knowledge that they are not alone in their grief.

The Butterfly Group was created as a result of talking to parents about the support they feel they, and their family, need after their child has died. The original idea came from our general Parent Group which was open to all Noah’s Ark parents. However, after their child had died, parents found it difficult to attend the same group as other families, feeling inhibited around what they felt they could say or discuss.

Based on feedback from families, Noah’s Ark previously piloted a Bereaved Parents’ Group. However, this did not evolve as expected. Initially functioning as a drop-in facility to take into account that parents could not always commit to attendance as their emotions and energy varied day-to-day but, in reality, it meant that we didn’t see more than two families at a time. This did not satisfy the stated need to meet and share with a group of parents and eventually the monthly evening time slot was withdrawn. We went back to the drawing board.

Last year, together with the newly expanded Therapies Team, Noah’s Ark explored the possibility of inclusive whole family events where both parents and siblings could attend and participate in a memory making activity. This then evolved into our Butterfly Group.

Our recent inaugural Group was warmly received and we’ve already had very positive feedback. We now anticipate that this group will go from strength to strength and the team is now planning the next Butterfly Group which will take place in May.

Being a charity, Noah’s Ark is able to be flexible in our response to families’ needs. We are happy to explore options and try them out. We also accept that the cohort of families is ever-changing, and that needs will also vary for each family and/or family member over the three-year period of post-bereavement support. Our aim is to keep listening and offer a range of approaches in order to provide the right support and the right time for the greatest number.

While the Butterfly Group is available for up to three years following the death of a child, we continue to welcome all bereaved Noah’s Ark families to our annual Memory Day in September for as long as they wish to receive invitations.

If you would like to read more about talking to children about death and bereavement, please see Why children need to talk about dying.

If you would like to find out more about the Noah’s Ark Butterfly Group, please contact our Care Team at

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