good life, good death, good grief

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Hibernian win the Contribution to Openness about Death Award

The winner has been announced for the second Contribution to Openness about Death Award. It has gone to Hibernian FC / Shirley Fife & Jeanette Byers for their To Absent Friends collaboration.

Hibernian FC encouraged their fans to pay tribute to dead loved ones with a To Absent Friends wall - posters placed around the ground on match days on which fans could write messages, attach photos and share stories of Hibs fans who were no longer with us. 2017 was the second time Hibs have created the walls and the tributes have been collated, bound and handed to the Hibernian museum for posterity. The initiative was part of the club's Gamechanger partnership with NHS Lothian, led by Shirley Fife and Jeanette Byers.

The award is made by Good Life Good Death Good Grief to recognise individual or group contributions towards promoting more open and supportive attitudes to death and bereavement in Scotland. It was judged by a panel of international experts in the field of death and dying and has been made to mark Good Death Week, 14 - 20 May.

The other nominees were:

Alison Bunce for Compassionate Inverclyde

Alison is the programme lead for Compassionate Inverclyde, which was launched last year to help individuals and communities in Inverclyde to help and support each other at times of increased health need, at end of life and in bereavement, recognising the importance of families, friends and communities working alongside formal services. Projects include No-one Dies Alone (NODA), an all-volunteer, grassroots program which provides support to those in their last hours of life who do not have family or friends available to be with them at this time.

Diane Willis for Life, Death and Lilies

Diane Willis is a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and also a registered nurse, psychologist and counsellor. For To Absent Friends 2017, she organised Life, Death and Lilies, a public artwork and memorial garden of illuminated artificial lilies in Edinburgh's Grassmarket. Each lily was decorated with a note of remembrance from a member of the public to a loved on who had died. The piece was created as a practical response to NHS Education Scotland-funded research into the training needs of health and care staff in issues relating to death and dying, and over 1,500 lilies were made.

Edinburgh Brass Band for outstanding To Absent Friends concerts

Edinburgh Brass Band have been stalwarts of the To Absent Friends festival each November, and have made their annual concert of remembrance a fundamental part of their yearly programme. In 2017, they hosted their fourth To Absent Friends concert of music of memory and reflection at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, free and open to all to attend to remember those they have loved who have died.

The volunteers of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland are a charity providing free care and support to bereaved people. In 2016/17 their Helpline volunteers answered over 13,000 calls and supported over 4,000 bereaved people either at first point of contact or by referring them to dedicated listening services, with 270 volunteers giving over 30,000 hours of voluntary service. In 2018, Cruse celebrated its 50th anniversary, and their Parliamentary celebration including moving testimonies from those who had been helped by the service.

We congratulate Hibs and all those who were nominated for an award, for their hard work and dedication in making Scotland more open and supportive around death, dying and bereavement.

Launch of new report: A Road Less Lonely

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief have published a new report looking at how to encourage more supportive attitudes and behaviours relating to death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

A Road Less Lonely, Moving forward with public health approaches to death, dying and bereavement in Scotland explores some of the different areas that can shape people’s experiences of death, dying and bereavement. It focuses particularly on:

  • Death education and bereavement support in schools.
  • Workplace culture and policies.
  • The role of communities.
  • The practicalities of planning ahead for deteriorating health and death.
  • Personal skills and knowledge relating to death, dying and bereavement.
  • Mass media campaigns.
  • Socio-economic disadvantage.
  • Funeral poverty.
  • Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, Scotland’s public health palliative care alliance.

This report highlights a wide range of projects and initiatives ongoing in Scotland and further afield that are relevant to improving people’s experiences of death, dying and bereavement. It illustrates that Scotland there is a huge amount of enthusiasm, skills, knowledge and resources relating to public health approaches to death, dying and bereavement.

A Road Less Lonely also suggests a range of steps that could be taken to move forward this area of work, illustrating that relevant action can be taken by a range of different types of organisations, across a variety of domains.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here: A Road Less Lonely

The Resilience Project

A new education resource has been put together by Strathcarron Hospice, the Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh and St Francis Xavier’s RC Primary School, Falkirk.

The Resilience Project: Educating and Supporting Children around Death, Dying and Bereavement consists of five lessons covering the subjects of death, loss and grief. The lessons are aimed at pupils in Primary Six or Seven (aged nine to 12 years) and address experiences and outcomes across Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. It was designed in response to children’s questions about death and bereavement and aims to ensure that all children have access to education about death and grief as a normal part of the lifecycle.

Download a copy (pdf)

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