For Dying Matters Awareness Week 2019, Kirkwood Hospice hosted a variety of events, designed to encourage open discussions around death and dying, through the perspective of performance, literature and informal settings.
The week began in partnership with Kirklees Libraries, and an event called ‘Story Endings‘, supported by Kirkwood Hospice staff and a number of library staff and volunteers. Librarians had curated a selection of books, suitable for a range of ages, along with some conversational prompts and a display of information. As a drop-in event, people passing by also joined in the discussions and engaged with the materials on display. The conversational prompts proved to be a useful introduction to remembering loved ones and exploring people’s own feelings about how they would like to be remembered. The librarians involved felt privileged to be a part of the event and were keen to host another similar event.
Through the course of the week, Kirkwood Hospice held a ‘The Last Post Pub’ in Holmfirth, with a special themed ale on sale called The Last Nail Ale. Four sessions were held during the week, with the opportunity for people to talk through will making, legal aspects and local support available. The sessions included involvement from Kirkwood’s Specialist Palliative Care Social Workers, Chaplain, Counsellor, Admiral Nurse and Trusts and Legacies Fundraiser and also included input from local funeral directors who were engaged with the idea of facilitating discussions within an informal setting.
The week concluded with a performance of ‘Spread the Word’, developed in partnership with a local theatre company and exploring the themes of advance care planning and dispelling myths around hospice care. This was performed to a large audience of professionals and provoked some excellent discussion.
Events were well attended and encouraged discussions, with a wide range of positive feedback shared. We plan to build on these initial events for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2020.
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