The recent “Good Death Café” at the United Reformed Church, Nuneaton has been hailed a tremendous success as organisers and exhibitors spoke with over 200 people during the event about planning for ‘end of life’ in a positive and sensitive manner.
The day was organised by George Eliot Hospital, Mary Ann Evans Hospice and NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group to support ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ (9th – 15th May 2016), which is an initiative championed by the ’Dying Matters Coalition’ to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement.
Throughout Dying Matters Awareness Week, events and activities were held up and down the country to raise awareness about end of life issues.
The purpose of hosting the Good Death Café in Nuneaton town centre was to raise awareness and provide helpful advice to the local public and professionals about dying, death and bereavement. This end of life event used the United Reform Church Hall to hold a drop in café event where coffee and cake was provided free of charge and allowed the public to have informal discussions about a range of death and bereavement issues with an eclectic and extensive array of exhibitors promoting local and national services available to the public.
Attending the café in Nuneaton Town centre were local MPs, Marcus Jones and Craig Tracey and the outgoing Nuneaton and Bedworth Mayor, Barry Longden, who cut a celebratory cake. Also there to provide support was Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, the organisation supporting the yearly event.
George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust’s End of Life Care Specialist Nurse, Kristy Clayton, said: “I’m overwhelmed with the response we had on the day. We know that discussions on dying can be very difficult and it’s a sad fact that many people still do not plan for their end of life. I’m encouraged that so many people were open to having a conversation with our team.”
Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care said: “I have full praise for the team for holding such a successful event. On the day they received support from local MPs and the Mayor as well as the hundreds who stopped by to have a conversation. The Dying Matters Week helps to increase the importance of talking about death and dying and they certainly helped to achieve this.”
The Good Death Café also allowed professionals to network and build links. On the day, Claire Henry joined Kay Greene, Head of Clinical Services at Mary Ann Evans Hospice and Chair of the National Association for Hospice at Home, in the town centre talking with local people and raising the awareness of a good death. Kay said “It was a privilege having Claire join us and support our event. We were both very aware that in addition to the hundreds who joined us in the church hall we raised awareness with several hundred more people just by wearing our Good Death Café t-shirts and by being seen out in the town. We wanted to let people know how local services, such as the Mary Ann Evans Hospice, are there to help people at a time when they most need it. We are looking forward to working with our partners again next year to continue this vital work.”
Kristy Clayton and the event organisers would like to say a big thank you to all those members of the public that came to talk to them; to the volunteers that worked to make this event such a great success; to Claire Henry, the local Mayor, Barry Longden and MPs Craig Tracey and Marcus Jones - that took time to show their support and to the exhibitors for showcasing the great work they do.
Notes to editors
Pic one (Top): Nuneaton and Bedworth Mayor, Barry Longden, is seen cutting the Good Death Café cake with Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care
Pic Two (Bottom): Back row: Cloey Pickles (Mary Ann Evans) , Faye Howard (George Eliot Hospital), Karen Badgery (George Eliot Hospital), Marcus Jones MP, Craig Tracey MP, Claire Henry (Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care), Kristy Clayton (George Eliot Hospital), Sarah Fathers(Mary Ann Evans). Front row: Trish Heritage (George Eliot Hospital), Julia Grant (George Eliot Hospital), Kay Greene (Mary Ann Evans) and Sonia Brierley (George Eliot Hospital).