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Shooting Star Children's Hospices

Family Support Worker

Job Type



Social work



£26,104 - £28,308

Posted Date

22 January 2024


Closing Date

31 January 2024

Our West London Family Support Worker helps families in this area, who may find it more difficult to learn about and access Shooting Star’s care services. This includes families of different ethnicities, and families living in poverty.

Our dedicated team of Family Support Workers work closely with our Therapists, Counsellors, Social Workers, Transition Team and our Care Events Team. Weekly meetings bring the team together to think of ways to help families in crisis. The work is varied and creative, taking place at the hospices, in family homes and hospitals, allowing the support to be where the families need it. Our Family Support Workers are hugely appreciated by the families we support.

Main duties and key responsibilities

Individual responsibilities

· To help children, young people and families receive holistic care that considers all aspects of health and wellbeing, from the point of referral through the three years and three months after a child dies.

· To build connections with families from different backgrounds, learning about what is important to Shooting Star families and helping to ensure our service is as inclusive as possible.

· To understand different practices associated with the many cultures and faith groups in the communities supported by Shooting Star.

· To be a first responder at the time of a child’s death, providing emotional and practical support, in a way that is sensitive to a family’s culture and wishes.

· To be the Named Team Member of end-of-life and bereaved families, delivering care outlined in our bereavement pathway.

· To act as an advocate for families, making sure their views and needs are heard.

· To carry out initial assessments for those referred to the bereavement service, gathering relevant details about a family and presenting this to the wider multi-disciplinary team.

· To identify ways to help hard-to-reach families feel confident and safe accessing our care.

· To design, propose and deliver bespoke bereavement plans for families requiring a higher level of care, suggesting frequency of contact and support measures. To seek longer-term solutions to benefit the family, including social prescribing.

· To help families to access welfare support such as local food banks.

· To help the team personalize care thoughtfully, in order that families of all backgrounds can engage with support that is helpful to them. To take time to transition families from our bereavement service to appropriate support in their locality, personalized to their needs.

· To discuss all work with children, young people and families openly in clinical supervision and with appropriate professionals, enabling reflective practice and development of knowledge, understanding and skills.


· To participate in the duty roster, answering queries from families seeking support in person, via the Family Support Line or email.

· To work in partnership with the wider care team, for example assisting with memory making and supporting siblings, sharing knowledge and understanding of working with families from different cultures.

· To help provide groups and events for supported and bereaved children and their families, including siblings’ trips, bereavement cafes and drop-ins.

· To support communication with families concerning event attendance, to strive to increase engagement and access. To ensure all services are inclusive and accessible to families of different cultures and backgrounds.

· To attend and participate in internal and external meetings, contributing to multi-disciplinary discussions.

· To form effective inter-agency collaboration with schools, GPs, social services, child death review teams and other external professionals.

· To identify places of worship, community centres and children’s centres who are important in the lives of Shooting Star families, and to build positive partnerships to further support families.

· To ensure that the wider team is informed of any relevant changes in the family, child or young person’s needs or circumstances.

· To act as an ambassador for Shooting Star’s Specialist Bereavement Service, supporting other Named Team Members with their learning and delivery of the bereavement pathway, and continually seeking ways to improve quality.

Learning and safeguarding compliance

Our Family Support Workers receive a full program of training so that they can provide excellent bereavement care, helping families with everything they need at the time their child dies and for three years and three months after.

· To be a responsible and independent learner, completing competency training.

· To engage in the learning and development program, building knowledge and understanding relevant to the delivery of psychosocial care.

· To learn about the different practices in end of life and bereavement care, associated with cultures and faith groups in the communities supported by Shooting Star.

· To share skills, knowledge and learning with members of the direct and wider team.

· To safeguard children, young people and adults, adhering to Safeguarding policies.

· To work to identify and understanding of the barriers that may prevent families from accessing care.

· To ensure accurate and contemporaneous notes and records of all contacts are recorded within the electronic notes system.

The post holder must hold a driving license and be able and willing to work from Shooting Star House in Hampton, and to travel to homes in the borough of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster. From time to time, you may be asked to travel to our Christopher’s hospice and to other homes and hospitals in the Shooting Star catchment.

The post holder will be required to apply for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

The post holder will be working in a developing environment, and he/she will therefore be expected to undertake other appropriate duties as required for the effective operation of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.


· 1 year of experience working with children and families, including individuals experiencing hardship, trauma, mental health difficulties or social vulnerabilities.

· Proficient in one or more of the following languages: Punjabi, Gujrati, Arabic, Somali, Urdu or Hindi

· Full UK driving licence.

· Awareness of issues of equality and diversity, with an ability to personalise care and enhance accessibility, removing barriers that may prevent engagement.

· A passion to help disadvantaged families.

· Relatability and likeability that would enable children, young people, and parents to welcome support from Shooting Star’s Specialist Bereavement Service.

· Confidence to be a hospice first-responder, for example to be sent to a family in hospital of a child who is imminently dying or has just died.

· A caring and reassuring approach that would help a family feel safe in the face of trauma/death.

· An individual willing to learn about anticipatory grief, acute grief, and living with grief. A passion for ongoing learning and development.

· Understanding of boundaries around the role in relation to children, young people and families.

· Ability to anticipate risk and think creatively about support measures that will enable the best outcomes for families.

· Ability to work under pressure and manage time effectively.

· Good literacy skills.

· Able to work 1 or 2 weekend days each month.

· Proficient in the use of Microsoft 365 and software such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Teams.

Desirable, not essential

· NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care

· Social Worker or counselling qualification

· Experience of managing a caseload and working alongside other professionals to find best outcomes.

· Previous experience of working to support inclusion in a health or education setting

· Professional experience working with bereaved families in a statutory or voluntary setting.

· Previous experience of supporting families who experience the unexpected death of a baby, child, or young person.

· Knowledge of Safeguarding practice and experience in raising concern appropriately.

· Experience of designing and facilitating support groups and events.

· Experience of volunteering or working within hospice care.

· Mental health first aid qualification.

· Evidence of professional development.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills in psychological and social support provided in children’s hospice care. The candidate will be given an induction, guided with a competency framework and will engage in identified internal and external learning about care in end of life and bereavement, that forms part of the Family Support Team Learning Pathway.

Mandatory Criteria

1. Other duties

The post holder will be working in a developing environment and they will therefore be expected to undertake other appropriate duties as required for the effective operation of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

2. Professional Codes of Conduct

The post holder will be required to respect professional codes of conduct and practice relevant to their role, as appropriate

3. Health and Safety

Be responsible for health and safety in the area under their control and ensure that they are familiar with Shooting Star Children’s Hospices policy on health and safety at work.

4. Mandatory Training

The post holder will attend all mandatory training relevant to their role

5. Our values and behaviours

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is a leading children’s hospice charity for babies, children and young people with life –limiting conditions, and their families. We require that all of our staff share our common values and display behaviors that will enable us to achieve our goals.

Professionalism – we will safeguard our families, each other and our organisation by working to ethical and professional standards at all times.

Respect – We will treat each other with the utmost respect.

Integrity – We will be open, honest and transparent in all that we do.

Diversity – We will respect individuality and ensure inclusion and fairness to all.

Excellence – We will strive for excellence in all that we do.

and behaviours

What we offer

Pension scheme

· NHS Pension Scheme (eligible employees)

· Stakeholder pension scheme

· Employee contribution 3.5%

· Shooting Star Children’s Hospices contribution 4.5%

· Additional contributions – we will pay 1% above the contribution up to a limit of 7%

Annual leave

· 35 days including Bank Holidays rising with the length of service

· 2 weeks paid sabbatical leave after 5, 10 and 15 years service

Contractual benefits

· Generous sick pay scheme

· Enhanced maternity, adoption, and paternity leave pay

· Flexible working arrangements

· Death in service benefits

· Reimbursed professional membership fees

· Eye care

· Employee referral scheme

· Blue Light discount card

Health and wellbeing

· Employee Assistance Programme

· Occupational Health

· Mindfulness sessions

· Cycle to work scheme

· Mental Health First Aiders

· Nutritionally balanced meals at Christopher’s (free employees)

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Shooting Star Children’s Hospice is committed to inclusion and diversity in everything we do. We know that getting things right is critical for us to live our organisation’s values: Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence.

We are always trying to improve our way of working to be more inclusive and equal. Our vision is for Shooting Star Children’s Hospice to be a place where people of all backgrounds, groups and communities feel welcomed to work and volunteer.

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