Families Together receives donation of Pillow Chat Diaries

Posted 18th March 2019

On Tuesday 12 March, we were pleased to be able to donate a box of Pillow Chat Diaries to the Families Together service. Our Pillow Chat Diary offers children the chance to express their feelings without the need to talk face to face. Families Together plans to use the diaries to help the children they work with locally.

Children and young people often find it difficult to talk about their feelings face to face, so we have created a way that allows them to open up without having to do any talking – the Pillow Chat Diary. Children simply write down their worries or fears or questions in this little book and slip it under their pillow where their trusted adult can then find it and respond. It comes from the Barlow family’s experiences of living with a parent with incurable cancer but will have relevance to any child living with uncertainty, fear and anxiety – regardless of the cause. It can offer invaluable support to a child and a reassuring communication channel for the trusted adult in their life.

On Tuesday 12 March, at a Fitmums & Friends run session in Beverley, Sam and Mike Barlow handed over a donation of Pillow Chat Diaries to Benna Skelton and Laura Gell of Families Together. Families Together, part of Hull Churches' Home from Hospital Service, supports and cares for local families undergoing treatment for cancer. Benna and Laura responded: “We cannot thank Fitmums & Friends enough for its generous donation of Pillow Chat Diaries. We are always looking at ways to develop and improve our resources to help the children we work with express themselves at a difficult time in their childhood. This will be an invaluable resource to the Families Together service.”

A number of other mental health practitioners have expressed their support for the Pillow Chat Diary – see below.

Fitmums & Friends would like to thank the GMB Union for funding production of the initial supply of diaries. Helen Johnson explains: “GMB H42 Branch decided to support this initiative as the committee could see what a worthwhile cause it was and hopes to be able to share it with members who need support in difficult circumstances. Trade unions are not just there to support members with issues at work, but in all areas of their lives as we know that home issues affect work too.”

The Pillow Chat Diary can be bought from the Fitmums & Friends shop here for £4.00. All proceeds from the sales will go towards the purchase of Pillow Chat Diaries for any child in need of one. If you know a child in need who might not be able to afford the cost or if your organisation would like to purchase a larger quantity of diaries, please get in touch to discuss how we can help you.

For more information about the Pillow Chat Diary, please email Sam Barlow on info@fitmums.org.uk.

For more information about the Families Together service, please visit its website.

Further support for the Pillow Chat Diary:

“The Pillow Chat Diary is a fantastic idea, and one that I am sure will be useful for many families. Children and young people often find it difficult to talk about their feelings with their family, and this is a great way to make it easier to talk. I will certainly be suggesting this to families that I work with.” 

Rebekah Palmer, CBT Therapist at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind (www.heymind.org.uk)

“I often reflect and wish that while growing up I had the opportunity to talk more about my feelings, but also recognise and understand them. In some ways it could have been my emotional and mental “hygiene". I was taught dental hygiene, but nobody ever taught me emotional and mental hygiene. The Pillow Chat Diary is a wonderful and very pragmatic approach to helping children learn and talk about their emotions, which becomes so important when feeling the stresses and strains of everyday life. Being able to talk and understand our feelings is essential in maintaining good mental and emotional health. I also just love the simplicity of the diary and the love and care it feels like it is “wrapped” in.” 

Geoff McDonald, global consultant, advocate and campaigner – mental health, and co-founder of Minds at Work (www.mindsatworkmovement.com