Luna Foundation CEO Anna Wardley presented with Viscount De L’Isle Award
Luna Foundation CEO Anna Wardley, has been presented with The Churchill Fellowship’s Viscount De L’Isle Award by Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames.
The honour is awarded to the Churchill Fellow who has shown real determination to succeed, for the direct benefit of others. Acknowledging her achievements, Sir Nicholas presented Anna with a signed copy of his grandfather’s autobiography, My Early Life.
At the ceremony held at Church House in Westminster on 18 October, Sir Nicholas presented Anna with a medallion in recognition of her international Churchill Fellowship research on improving the support for children after a parent dies by suicide.
Today (19 November 2022) is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, a global event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding and hope through their shared experience. Anna’s dad took his own life when she was nine, and her determination to improve the support for other children impacted by parental suicide was her motivation to apply for a Churchill Fellowship international research grant.
Anna’s Churchill Fellowship report entitled Time to count: supporting children after a parent dies by suicide contains her findings from research carried out across three continents and two years. In March she set up Luna Foundation to implement the recommendations from that report to improve the support for children left behind after suicide. It is estimated 9,000 children in the UK lose a parent to suicide every year, but no precise figures are available as they are not counted.
Julia Weston, Chief Executive of The Churchill Fellowship said, ‘Anna is a thoroughly deserving winner of our 2022 Viscount De L’Isle Award which goes to a Churchill Fellow who has shown real determination to succeed, for the direct benefit of others. Anna’s Fellowship in 2019 explored international best practice in supporting children and young people bereaved by parental suicide. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to take forward the learnings and recommendations of her Fellowship to provide greater support for children bereaved by suicide in the UK. This includes setting up the Luna Foundation to deliver training and support and working with her local MP to influence policy in this area. We congratulate Anna for all her achievements and wish her every success as she builds upon this work.’
Anna has linked up with Dame Caroline Dinenage MP to highlight the impact of suicide bereavement on children, particularly those who lose a parent or caregiver, in Parliament. They are currently working together to table a parliamentary debate on the issue.
As a Churchill Fellow, Anna was recently invited to submit the findings of her international research in Australia, Denmark, Sweden and the USA to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Mental Health Strategy Team, who are currently working on a suicide prevention strategy for England, to help them establish where there are gaps in provision.
Anna said, ‘It is a great honour to be presented with the Viscount De L’Isle Award, and it was particularly special to receive it on my birthday at Church Hall in Westminster. I want to thank The Churchill Fellowship for providing me with this opportunity to create lasting change, and this recognition will help to accelerate the work I’m doing through Luna to transform the way we care for children after parental suicide.
‘My report is relevant not only to policymakers and commissioners, but also to those working with children and young people, and anyone who is interested in how they can best support a child after a parent or caregiver has taken their own life. It’s also for those who have experienced the loss of a parent to suicide, however long ago that was, and those who want to better understand their experience.’
The report is available to read here.
Luna offers training to professionals who work with children and young people including to enable them to provide effective support when someone dies by suicide. Delivered in an accessible and interactive online session, it is suitable for people in a wide range of roles including teachers, pastoral staff, GPs, social workers, foster carers, youth workers and mental health support staff. For more information visit .
Organisations providing direct support to families, children and young people after suicide bereavement can be found here. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 by calling freephone 116 123 or emailing email@example.com. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
Image: Sir Nicholas Soames presents Churchill Fellow and Luna Foundation CEO Anna Wardley with a signed copy of his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill’s autobiography, My Early Life, at the Churchill Fellowship Awards Ceremony at Church House in Westminster on Wednesday 18 October. Credit: Clive Totman.