Sibling toolkit

Sibling Toolkit

Tom’s Trust is proud to introduce the Sibling Toolkit—a comprehensive 40-page manual designed for key adults offering support to the siblings of children facing cancer. Enter your details to view and download the Toolkit down below.

    Tom with his sister
    Tom with his sisters
    do not use (7)
    Mimi and Flint Clarke
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    Childhood cancer affects numerous families in the UK, with 1,800 children newly diagnosed every year. Despite this, there is often a notable lack of support available for the brothers and sisters of the children diagnosed. This toolkit aims to empower adults to effectively support the siblings of children with cancer. Developed by our clinical psychologists who specialise in working with children with brain tumours, the toolkit brings a wealth of expertise to address the unique challenges faced by these families.

    With a lack of funding given to supporting the mental wellbeing of families facing cancer, this toolkit will help key workers and friends and families in these siblings’ lives where formal psychological support is not available. This adult might be someone who already knows the sibling through their school, such as a teacher, teaching assistant, school counsellor, or head of year. It might be another person who works with children out of school, such as a youth worker, social worker, or activity group leader. Some of this toolkit might be useful for family members or relatives to use alongside siblings. There are many activities provided within the toolkit to enable key adults to communicate well with these children and help them to explore their feelings.


    This toolkit has been developed by clinical psychologists working with children and families affected by brain tumour. We thank each individual for the time and expertise they have contributed to this resource.

    Contributors and acknowledgments

    Dr Sarah Verity // Paediatric Neuropsychologist
    The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust &
    Newcastle University Centre for Cancer

    Mrs Deborah Mitchell // Co-founder Tom’s Trust
    Tom’s Trust

    Dr Claire Adey // Principal Clinical Psychologist
    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

    Ms Kimberley Davies // Assistant Psychologist
    The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Tracy Dyson // Consultant Neuropsychologist
    Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

    Ms Kate Fifield // PhD Student
    King’s College London

    Dr Natalie Holman // Clinical Psychologist
    Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Philippa Lewington // Clinical Psychologist
    Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Kirsty Marshall // Clinical Psychologist
    Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

    Mr Phil Martinez // Charity Manager
    OSCAR’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity

    Dr Meghan Owens // Clinical Psychologist
    Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Amandeep Samrai // Clinical Psychologist
    Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust & Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

    Dr Jeni Tregay // Paediatric Neuropsychologist
    Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


    A message from Tom’s Trust’s Co-Founder, Debs Mitchell:

    “Tom’s sisters, Maddy and Evie, spent a lot of time at the hospital while he received medical treatment, from disrupted schooling to weekends and sometimes months in hospital where Tom was confined to one room due to his low immunity. Siblings are often left feeling confused, anxious, sad, angry and sometimes traumatised by what they see, but resources from all adults around them are naturally given to the unwell child even though their world is also being turned upside down. Siblings desperately need the help of professionals to support them as they navigate this difficult time and parents are often so traumatised themselves they are unable to support their other children. This document would have made an enormous difference to our girls through Tom’s treatment when their lives were turned upside down, it’s an incredible addition for families. It will provide adults with everything they need to support children after learning of a sibling’s diagnosis, during their treatment, through recovery and disabilities, and in some cases through bereavement.”

    Sibling Toolkit launch event

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