On Friday 17th May 2019, national children’s bereavement charity, Once Upon a Smile, held a VIP event to launch the opening of Sidley House, a dedicated children’s bereavement hub located in Manchester.

Cutting the orange ribbon were actors and co-founder of the charity Daniel Jillings (Hollyoaks, PREY) and Danny Miller (Emmerdale). They were joined by local business owners, supporters of the charity and celebrity friends including former Coronation Street actor Ryan Clayton, BBC radio 1 and Cold Feet actor Cel Spellman and more.

The two actors started Once Upon a Smile eight years ago with the vision to provided emotional and practical support to families following the loss of a parent or child.

The charity is the only bereavement charity in the UK to offer a variety of support to families through such a difficult time, not only are they unique in this way but they also tailor the support provided to families to fit their individual needs.

As the charity grew and started supporting more families Daniel and Danny identified the need of creating their own bereavement centre to allow the charity to continue and grow the support to bereaved families.

Sidley House is a dedicated bereavement hub and head office of Once Upon a Smile and each room is dedicated to specific activities to allow bereaved children to express in a fun and safe environment both in groups and individually. These rooms include a music which is in memory of the youngest Manchester terror attack victim, Saffie-Rose Roussos, a large Chill Out Room that includes a pool table, table tennis, graffiti wall and is in memory of Isaac and Lucy whose parents met through the support of Once upon a smile and have raised over £50,000 for the charity.

Many local businesses have supported the charity by sponsoring rooms or donating essential items for Sidley House.

Daniel Jillings “We have been so lucky to receive the support of local businesses and the community to help Sidley House become reality. It’s been a long and often difficult project to try and explain when talking about the vision that Danny and I had. We are so grateful to the continued support that we receive, and that support will ensure that we can continue to help bereaved families at their time of need. Sidley House is just the start of things to come from Once Upon a Smile”.

Danny Miller “Looking back on what Once Upon a Smile has achieved to date fills me with immense pride, without the love and support of the incredible team of our supports, staff and volunteers I truly believe we would not be able to provide the support we do. The strength and courage shown by the families that access our support daily amazes me. Sidley House was an ambitious project but one we knew would benefit so many bereaved families and I am delighted that it is now open to families”.

For more details on Once upon a smile please go to www.onceuponasmile.org.uk