Article Text

Download PDFPDF

P-61 #mylastorders – ‘death cafes’ to build community awareness of end of life issues
  1. Ian Dewar,
  2. Elaine Hemmingway,
  3. Jayne Tyrer and
  4. Jennifer Culley
  1. UHMBT, Lancaster, UK


Background As a reflection on how life, death and palliative care are perceived by the wider public, the chaplaincy department at UHMBT began experimenting with the idea of a ‘death café in late 2015. In early 2016 this became the central theme for the Trust for Dying Matters Week.

Aims This was to build on the results of the initial research, engage more widely with the public and see what further insights and lessons could be learnt.

Methods The project title was both memorable and social media friendly -#MyLastOrders. It then set about creating café settings in neutral venues, supplying of free coffee and cake and using questions from a project called Grave Talk. There was a fixed start and finish time, limited professional presence. People were seated in small groups in café style layout and given a set of cards with one question per card, told when to turn over the first card and then allowed to talk without further input from professionals.

Results The indirect nature of the questions combined with a neutral setting and the revived popularity of coffee shops as a relaxing place to go created the space in which profound and animated conversation took place. Many people made resolutions to engage families and other groups in the conversation that had started for them. New opportunities were opened up and it has now been extended to local 6th forms.

Conclusion The power of the project is its simplicity. It creates time and space for conversation about what has become a taboo subject in a non-threatening way. As such it has provided a model for future forms of engagement and in particular has contributed to the establishment of a support group for people affected by sudden loss such as death by accident or suicide.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.