For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Elizabeth, Matthew’s sister. When Matthew passed away in August of 2010 my whole life changed. His passing happened so quickly, none of us ever saw it coming and it effected many lives in our community, especially my family.
A year on from Matthew’s death, my parents created The Matthew Hackney Foundation, and at first, we had no idea how important his charity would be to our family, friends, and the wider community. Not only has it helped us to remember him and how wonderful of a person he was, but it has also shone a very important light on the lack of affordable counselling in schools and the damage that this does to many young people in the UK.
Growing up I was very fortunate and received multiple bouts of counselling through the years, but I never really enjoyed it or felt the benefits of counselling the way I do now. In all honesty, I didn’t want to talk about Matthew, especially not to a stranger. In primary school I had counselling within school hours with my family friends who knew Matthew. I enjoyed this experience, although I think it was mainly because my friends were there, and I didn’t really have to talk about anything to do with Matt. As I grew up and started secondary school, I became very closed off and shy (nothing like the person I am today). In year 8 I started counselling again, also within school hours, and I hated it. I vividly remember my counsellor telling me that they knew how felt because their cat died last week. It was an awful experience and put me off counselling for a very long time. I think that’s also one of the reasons why I am so passionate about the work that The Matthew Hackney Foundation does because every counselling experience I had when I was younger was never beneficial to me, and the charity’s counsellors are amazing and have helped me so much.
Recently my wonderful parents offered me counselling through The Matthew Hackney Foundation and I am incredibly grateful for the help and support that my counsellor, Kate, gave to me. At the start of our sessions, I was feeling very low and depressed. I missed Matthew (and I always will) but it was more than that. I couldn’t understand why I felt so depressed when I have everything in life. I have a beautiful family, a loving partner, a cute golden retriever called Goldie, and I was just embarking on a brilliant placement in London. Kate taught me that it is okay to feel low, and everyone goes through their ups and downs. She helped me grow a set of skills to help cope with my emotions and deal with any low points I have in the future. I now can talk comfortably about my emotions and Matthew. Without the Kate and the foundation’s help, I definitely wouldn’t be sat writing a blog about my brother and how many lives he has changed since his passing.
Over the last 12 years I have watched the foundation blossom into an incredible charity that seeks to help as many children and adults as possible. I have been to many charity events (My favourite has to be the golf day, although Dad’s speech makes me cry every time) and made ever lasting memories with friends and family. It has been amazing to watch it grow to the magnitude that it is today, and I look forward to what the future holds.
The Foundation wouldn’t be possible without our amazing trustees, counsellors, volunteers, and of course, my Mum and Dad. They are the heart and soul of The Matthew Hackney Foundation and all the amazing work that the charity does. Without them, none of this would be possible.
I was very fortunate to have attended one of our volunteer & counsellor centred events, where my lovely Mum put on a BBQ for the amazing Volunteers & counsellors that work with The Foundation. This is where I met my counsellor in person for the first time (I am a busy bee and can only ever do online meetings). I really enjoyed online counselling because it meant that I could have sessions whenever and wherever. The BBQ was a heartwarming evening, full of laughter, chit-chat, and a lot of prosecco. It was a pleasure to be surrounded by such amazing individuals who help my brother’s charity change the lives of hundreds of children, young people and adults, as well as their families
I cannot speak highly enough of my parents, but if there is anything that shows you just how amazing they are, it is The Matthew Hackney Foundation. They saw me struggle in school dealing with grief and that I didn’t really want to talk to anyone about what I was going through. They witnessed how much I hated counselling and gradually changed my perspective for the better. So far, the charity helps children in 35 Surrey Schools, providing free counselling to children and young people for at least one morning per term for at least two terms per year. Counselling isn’t for everyone, and it took me a long time to open up and accept the help that I needed. I was very lucky to have counselling, but the thought of children in schools not having access to this service is heart breaking, and I cannot be prouder of the work that my brother’s charity does for our local community.