Rainbows Supporting Children through loss and grief


Rainbows is a national voluntary organisation offering peer support to children and people who have experienced a significant loss in their lives. The aim is to support children and young people in their local communities, as they seek to come to terms with grief and loss. The training, resources and structure needed to establish peer support groups is provided by Rainbows.

Rainbows Bereavement Support.

When something significant happens in a family, the entire family is affected. If parents separate or a parent dies or a painful loss occurs, not only do the parents grieve, the children do also. Children find it difficult to verbalise their feelings of grief because of their age and inexperience. It may surface in their behavior, schoolwork and emotional well-being. 

Rainbows is a support group that helps children put their feelings into words, work through their grief, build a stronger sense of self esteem, and begin to accept what has taken place in the family. It is not a counseling course. It is a safe, confidential setting where children will share their grief associated feelings with each other and with trained facilitators. 

Guiding Principles

  • Grief and loss are normal and natural.
  • Grief and loss – a very personal, individual journey.
  • Grief and loss can have a profound impact.
  • Grief needs to be acknowledged and supported, not denied, buried or ignored.
  • Children are best supported within the family. Rainbows support families at a time of loss.
  • The emotional health and well-being of children and young people is fundamental to their future.


What Rainbows can do

  • Help a child to engage with their own individual grief journey – to identify, name, understand, manage, express and share their feelings.
  • provide a safe setting to tell and retell feelings and thoughts, with trained listeners.
  • Support children to come to terms with loss and to integrate and adapt to loss in their lives.
  • Allow children to have a shared experience and identification with others’ feelings….“I’m not the only one”.
  • Acknowledge the grief… “it’s okay to be sad”.
  • Support the rebuilding of self-esteem, trust, confidence and resilience.
  • Promote emotional growth.
  • It provides a model of coping and support for the future life of a child. 


What is Rainbows

  • Rainbows provides a 12 week programme.
  • Rainbows provides peer support, a shared experience that reduces the feeling of isolation, realising you are not the only one or the only family.
  • Children and young people, of similar age and loss experience, meet in groups of 4 – 5.
  • It is a free support service advertised and offered in local areas or communities.
  • Groups provide the safe confidential environment for sharing feelings with trained facilitators.
  • Rainbows helps by providing materials – journals, story books, games and activities -which form a structured programme to lead a person gently through the grieving process.


What Rainbows is not

  • Not professional counselling or therapy.
  • Does not analyse or diagnose emotional or behavioural problems.
  • Does not give advice or attempt to solve problems.
  • Does not give opinions, pass comment, make judgements, take sides or criticise.
  • Does not report, take notes, give feedback or evidence, except as laid down by Child Protection Procedures. 
Speak to your nearest CDYS Coordinator today and find out how Rainbows can help

​Contact details: 

Fermoy:      086 8031291
Mallow:       086 8031126
Midleton:    086 8031227