Steering Group

BNE’s work is guided by a steering group:

SACHA RICHARDSON– Director of Family Services at Winston’s Wish, UK
Sacha is the director of family services at Winston’s with more than 20 years’ experience of supporting bereaved children, parents and families and is a trained Psychotherapist.  Winston’s Wish provides a range of support to bereaved children and their families including a Helpline, Family Support, publications and digital support services. He is also an experienced clinical supervisor, lecturer and trainer.  He sits on the Childhood Bereavement Network’s Advisory Group.

ALISON PENNY – Director of the Childhood Bereavement Network, Coordinator of the National Bereavement Alliance, UK
Alison leads two strategic national collaborations for those working with bereaved people. She keeps the sector updated and helps the field to develop policy and practice consensus, contributing to gains in national policy in bereaved people’s interests. Alison has a particular interest in supporting bereavement services to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. She is an editor of Bereavement Care and a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement.

SHARON VARD – CEO Anam Cara, Ireland
Sharon co-founded Anam Cara in 2008 and is today the CEO.  Sharon set up Anam Cara which is a national organisation founded by bereaved parents to address the shortfall in bereavement. Today Anam Cara has 9 support centres and partnerships with other key throughout Ireland to ensure bereaved families are being supported throughout the 32 counties.


DANAI PAPADATOU – Professor of Clinical Psychology & founder of Merimna, Greece
Danai Papadatou is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Faculty of Nursing at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her clinical experience and research interests focus on pediatric palliative care, childhood and family bereavement, community trauma after disasters, and professionals’ responses to death. She is the founder and president of “Merimna”, a NGO for the care of children and families in illness and death.

BRID CARROLL – Psychotherapist and Counselling Supervisor and Trainer, Ireland
Brid is a qualified Psychotherapist and Counselling Supervisor with a special interest in bereavement and loss. Brid works with families and children experiencing loss through bereavement illness and separation. She is a contributor to the Irish Hospice Foundation’ s workshop series and is Coordinator of their Professional Certificate in Children and Loss. She is presently Chair of the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network.

JOSE CARLOS ROCHA – Auxiliar Professor at CESPU, Portugal
José is a Clinical Psychologist, Auxiliar Professor at CESPU, Portugal,  Research team leader at IINFACTS  in the grief and traumatic stress and Clinical Director of Center for Grief and Trauma Psychology. Jose has implemented clinical trials for bereavement interventions from a Narrative perspective and translated and developed several grief and traumatic stress psychological instruments to Portuguese.  

INES TESTONI – Associate Professor of Social Psychology, University of Padua, Italy
Ines Testoni is an associate professor of Social Psychology, at the FISPPA Department, University of Padua. She is director and coordinator of the post-graduate master “Death Studies & the End of Life: Studies on Death and Dying”. She has been researching on death and dying (particularly on death representations and angst, grief and mourning, Death Education and suicide prevention) for years.


As host organization The Danish National Center for Grief (DGC) is permanently in attendance at Steering Group meetings 


Hosted by The Danish National Center for Grief