Travelling Fellowships to Support Vulnerable Children following Bereavement

Published: 9 May 2017

Travelling Fellowships to Support Vulnerable Children following Bereavement

In 2018, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) will award two Travelling Fellowships in a new ‘Supporting Vulnerable Children following Bereavement’ category. The application process is now open.

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Find out more about the Supporting Vulnerable Children following Bereavement category

In total, WCMT will be investing £1.5 million in UK citizens in 2018 through the Travelling Fellowship programme. This will directly support UK citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and innovative practice to inspire positive change in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

41,000 children are bereaved every year in the UK1.

Fellowships in this new category will run as part of a special partnership with Winston’s Wish, to mark its 25th anniversary, and to celebrate all that has been achieved by the charity since it was set up by Julie Stokes OBE, following her own Churchill Fellowship in 1992.

With more than 100 children bereaved of a parent every day, Winston’s Wish support children through the most fundamental loss they will ever face. As the UK’s first childhood bereavement charity, with 25 years of experience, the charity enables children who have been bereaved to lead full and flourishing lives.

Applications are welcomed from people working with vulnerable children who are seeking to better identify and support those who may also have experienced bereavement. Applications focused on bereavement in relation to children in care, children with learning difficulties and refugee and asylum seeking children, are also particularly encouraged.

Fergus Crow, CEO of Winston’s Wish, said:

As we proudly look back on the 25 years since Winston’s Wish was founded by Julie Stokes OBE following her own Churchill Fellowship, we hope that the Fellows who travel as part of this partnership will go on to achieve similarly inspirational results, ensuring that support for bereaved children in the UK is informed by the best possible practice from overseas.”

Julia Weston, Chief Executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said:

“Churchill Fellows are committed and motivated individuals who passionately want to improve life for others. We are thrilled to be partnering with Winston’s Wish, who are themselves one of the Churchill Fellowships’ great success stories.”

Fellow’s case study

Julie Stokes was a recently qualified psychologist when she applied for her Churchill Fellowship in 1991. At that time, bereavement care in the UK focused mostly on adults, and there was little or no research into the effects on children of the loss of a parent or close family member. Julie travelled to the USA and Canada looking at their systems for supporting bereaved children.

On her return she used the knowledge she had gained to set up the charity Winston's Wish, named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill. Winston’s Wish has since established itself as the UK’s leading childhood bereavement organisation - taking around 5,000 calls through its national Helpline every year from families, professionals and children. Through this service and the therapeutic support, website, workshops and group work it offers, the charity reaches 40,000 children and young people each year. 

In 2006 Julie received an OBE in recognition of her work for services to children and families.

Julie now works as an Executive Coach.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practice that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

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1. Winston’s Wish

Notes to Editors

Winston’s Wish

Winston’s Wish was the UK’s first childhood bereavement charity – supporting bereaved children since 1992.

As the first charity to establish child bereavement support services in the UK, they continue to lead the way in providing specialist child bereavement support services across the UK, including in-depth therapeutic help in individual, group and residential settings.

Winston’s Wish was established by Julie Stokes OBE, a clinical psychologist, to meet the needs of bereaved children and their families. The idea took root when Julie visited the US and Canada on a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Having been inspired by the services she saw there, Stokes returned to the UK and set up Winston’s Wish. For more information about Winston’s Wish please visit