About Us

Edward’s Trust is a specialist holistic bereavement charity based in Birmingham, and providing support for families in the West Midlands.

We support over 600 families per year which equates to around 3,000 family members.  We recognise that all grief is an individual journey and we tailor our support to meet individual needs. We offer a holistic approach through counselling and play therapy and run a ‘wellbeing in bereavement’ service in order to support our families during their most difficult times.

The History of Edwards Trust

The starting point for an organisation’s story is rarely the point at which it begins. Edward’s Trust officially became a registered charity on 10th March 1989 but the idea of establishing a charity to support families who have children with life threatening illnesses goes back almost to when Edward was first diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumour, a rare form of cancer, back in August 1987.


Edward Dent was just seven and a half years old when he died on 29 July 1988. He was ‘Just an ordinary boy with an extraordinary amount of courage’ – a quiet boy, a pupil at Knowle Infants School, Solihull, where he was probably more studious than most and enjoyed reading. Edward’s name lives on as a registered charity, raising money and helping parents who are forced to live through a similar nightmare.

The experience of loss – why Edward’s Trust is needed & how it has developed

Unless someone has experienced acute loss it is difficult to express in words what it means. Commonly, people say, ‘I cannot imagine my child dying’ or ‘Why would someone do that to my daddy?’.

But for the families of Edward’s Trust, they don’t have to imagine it. Every morning they wake up to a terrible reality – a nightmare that is played over and over again.

They imagine their child, their parent, their friend being there, alive and well. Whereas, in reality, they are not.

Edward’s Trust is unique in so many ways. Its offer is unconditional.

 Since the start, Edward’s Trust has evolved from an organisation originally supporting home from home accommodation for up to five families who had a seriously ill child in hospital in Birmingham to what it is now – a holistic bereavement support network for parents, children and carers.

The Trust supports around 600 families a year which equates to around 3,000 family members. These referrals relate not only to loss from illness but now include loss from violence, accident, suicide, and pre-natal, neo-natal and post-natal loss.

Edward’s Trust provides support for weeks, months and even years in some instances.

The Story of the Kite

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a symbol is something that stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract. Edward’s Kite is such a material object. It has three significant elements, Colour, Flight and Face.


Edward chose yellow and green for the tail of the kite. Yellow,(his favourite colour) is an optimistic & cheerful colour. Green is a symbol of balance and growth. The one merges into the other on the spectrum and combined, they often are seen as representing healing at a mental, emotional and/or physical level..


The kite can be imagined to be flying high. There is a freedom of spirit represented in the drawing that is expressed clearly in the Song from Mary Poppins:

Let’s go fly a kite, Up to the highest height, Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring,

Up through the atmosphere, Up where the air is clear, Oh let’s go fly a kite!

The song is used in the film to symbolise the importance of family – the image of a kite used to bring a family back together. For families who come to Edward’s Trust, their loss means the family will never come back together as it was before. But, ‘where the air is clear’, we hope there will be a reunion – a way to live our lives with grief in our hearts.


Even though the kite is high in the sky, the face shows no fear. It is an innocent childlike happiness. But the smile is everybody’s smile, not just a child’s smile but an adult’s smile to the world. More than that, it symbolizes trust in the goodness of things. A belief that despite all, even a child has an inner strength and courage that shows itself when faced with the ultimate challenge of life and death.‘True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher’(John Petit-Senn). Whether that contrary wind comes through illness, violence, accident, self-harm, for those who are left with a loss, the kite can symbolize the ‘true courage’ of grief.

Edward’s Kite, therefore, through its colours, its face and its flight, symbolises a courageous healing journey across space and time for a young child, for an older child, for a parent, for a grandparent. Edward’s Kite represents to everyone at Edward’s Trust a symbol of hope, not that the pain of loss will disappear but that there is a way of living with the loss. It is unique to each individual, it is not a formula, it is not a process, it is not a magic potion. Nor is it easy or pain-free.



And there is no string on Edward’s kite– just of course, as Edward’s Trust offers unconditional support, with no strings attached.

Our Values


We will act with integrity in all that we do, being mindful and considerate to all. We respect and remember those who have died. Respect is a constant that embraces diversity and uniqueness of experience.


A feeling of trust in tomorrow. We embody, instil and empower a feeling of trust in tomorrow. Hope is the hand to hold. We have a vision that one day there will be a universal understanding of life-changing grief.


Complete and all encompassing. We acknowledge and respond to the needs of the whole person: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We recognise the total experience of grief, promoting a holistic approach to bereavement care.


Enabling with compassion and care. We provide responsive support that is appropriate, relevant and meaningful to each individual. Together in safety and strength. Encouraging society to respond appropriately to people facing loss and surviving bereavement.


Embracing professional integrity and creative innovation. We are passionate about providing exceptional services and maintaining the highest standards in all that we do. Excellence is valuing people. We are committed to driving innovation and change.


Honorary President

Peter Dent


Clare Martin – Acting Chair of Trustees

Fiona Goldstraw

Peter Dent

Peter Barrett

Christine Bodkin

Aine Gallagher

Chris Hurley

Cassius Francis

Vicky Morbey

Patrons & Ambassadors

Nikki Tapper

Nick Owen

Tom Riis-Bristow

David Christie

 Judy Dyke

Will Farmer

Richard Page

Sarah Bradshaw


Meet the Team

Chief Executive Officer – Yvonne Gilligan

Fundraising Team:

Engagement Manager  Lucy Goodway

Fundraising and Evaluation Manager – Emma Wright

Comms & Marketing Coordinator – Helen Tomblin

Service Delivery Team:

Bereavement Services Manager – Sharon Downey

Clinical Lead (part-time) – Justine Wilson

We have a strong team of Counsellors and Wellbeing Therapists with a broad range of skills and expertise.