This year Warwickshire County Council’s library service has launched Death Cafés. These free group sessions provide the opportunity for local residents to engage in open conversations about death.
Death is often considered a difficult topic to talk about due to the powerful emotions associated with losing a loved one, or when reflecting on how your own death could impact on those around you. The Death Cafes will be a gentle way for people to break down the taboos and feel more comfortable whilst speaking about death and end of life, so that they can feel more empowered and confident if they ever need to reach out for support relating to this topic either now or in the future.
The free Death Café group sessions will be hosted each month in a different library location across Warwickshire. These are not designed to offer grief or counselling support but are an opportunity for people to discuss the notions of death and dying in an accessible, respectful and confidential space without judgement, and without any particular objectives or agendas. Death Cafés are there to simply encourage conversation and help to reduce any stigma around death as a topic. The sessions are run by experienced facilitators and include light refreshments for all participants.
Death Cafes already happen in more than 81 countries all over the world, with the purpose of increasing awareness of death through conversation, and with a view to helping people feel a sense of gratitude for living, so as not to postpone things and to make the most of their (finite) lives.
The next Death Café sessions will be taking place at the following locations, and you can book your place by clicking on one of the links below:
Cllr Andy Jenns, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, said:
“Death can often be considered quite a macabre, morbid, or even scary topic. The Death Cafes will help to tackle this unease in a safe library space by empowering individuals to explore their ideas and feelings about death in a friendly and informal way.
“We need greater awareness and ease around the subject of death within our local communities, as it’s not something commonly discussed, and yet many people have been impacted by the death of someone close during their lifetime, especially during the pandemic. The Death Cafes encourage an openness and reflection in conversation which in turn will help people to feel more comfortable talking to friends, family, and neighbours if they need more support. In this way we hope the Death Cafes will contribute towards people leading more happy, healthy and independent lives”.
The Death Café events at Warwickshire Libraries are being hosted in partnership with Compassionate Communities, part of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), and The Omega Course, a local organisation providing a course about death and dying.
For people who would benefit from receiving dedicated bereavement support, Warwickshire Libraries also host Bereavement Points as part of the County Council’s wider counselling and bereavement services, in partnership with George Eliot Hospital and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. At the Bereavement Point individuals can talk about their feelings of grief, loss, or other symptoms caused by a bereavement in a safe, small group environment with support from others in a similar position. The sessions are led by a combination of paid staff and trained volunteers and take place on alternate Fridays from 1:30pm - 3:30pm at Nuneaton Library. The next Bereavement Point sessions will take place on the 23 September, 7 and 21 October, and 4 and 18 November 2022. Contact the group on 07795367825 for more information or visit the Eventbrite page to book your place.
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To join your local library for free, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/jointhelibrary