Every 22 minutes in the UK a parent dies leaving children under 18, amounting to roughly 40,000 bereaved children a year, and over 100 every day. And yet only one in four parents have an up to date will in place.
Recognising the importance for every parent to have made a bereavement plan, Ellipse partnered with our Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) to create Plan If. As a national network of organisations working every day with bereaved families, CBN was well placed to launch a national campaign to help parents plan ahead in case they were to die before their children grow up.
How did we do it?
We commissioned research from the polling company OnePoll on 2000 UK adults with children aged 17 or under to find out what provision they had in place for their children if they were to die.
The research found that:
- While three out of four parents thought it was important to have a will, only one in four actually had an up-to-date one.
- 50% of parents had no definite arrangements for guardianship of their children
- A third had not told anyone where to find information about their financial affairs and insurance
- And only one in six had written a letter for their child to read after the parent died
From the research it was clear that most parents needed to be prompted to have a plan in place, and for there to be a quick and accessible way for them to find the information they need to do this successfully.
To help make this happen, we created Plan If.
Plan If is a campaign and linked resources developed by CBN which encourages all parents to put in place a legacy of practical and personal things which would make a difference to their children should one or both parents die. It explains why it is necessary for every parent to have a plan in place and provides information and resources on how to best do this.
The Plan If website provides all of this information in an easy to use format, covering information on practical and personal things that ALL parents can do this week; this month and this year.
It includes advice on practical tasks, such as making a will, planning guardianship and having life insurance, which can take some of the uncertainty out of life after a parental death, and personal tasks, such as capturing family stories and writing letters to children, which can provide comfort if a parent dies.
The Plan If campaign launch attracted excellent coverage on Twitter with a ‘tweetreach’ of over a million (1,032,322) and an ‘impressions’ figure of 1,765,376.
This was particularly helped by the support of Caitlin Moran and other public figures including Robert Peston and Prof Tanya Byron, as well as the backing of CBN members and interest and support from other key organisations such as the Law Society and Dying Matters.
Plan If featured as Campaign of the Week on Mumsnet and is regularly promoted in the annual Dying Matters Awareness Week.