good life, good death, good grief


To Absent Friends Small Grant Scheme

A small grants fund has been set up to support organisations to participate in To Absent Friends, a people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance, running 1-7 November 2018.

We are particularly keen to support small organisations to undertake local activities that provide public opportunities for storytelling and/or remembrance of people who have died.

The range of ways in which organisations can participate is wide and varied. In previous years, events have included concerts, poetry nights, craft activities, memory sharing events, storytelling suppers, exhibitions and much more.

Some ideas of relevant activities members might wish to undertake are listed on the To Absent Friends website, but we also encourage creative and innovative ideas that are appropriate to local groups and communities.

Grants are available for up to £250.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is Friday 24 August 2018. (We will aim to inform applicants of whether or not they have been successful by the end of August.)

A short grant application form and guidance notes for applicants are provided below.

Application Form

Guidance for Applicants

South Ayrshire Death Day

The Rotary Clubs of South Ayrshire are hosting an event at Ayr Town Hall on Friday 13th July for people to find out more about how they can plan ahead for the end of life.

Guests at this informative and light-hearted event will hear from Dr Kirsty Muirhead, former Palliative Care Consultant at the Ayrshire Hospice; Tara Cameron, undertaker at Funeral Partners Ayr; and Nigel Martin, former Chairman of the Ayrshire Hospice and local family lawyer.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland organist Matthew Hynes will provide entertainment on the Town Hall organ and refreshments will be available from the Salvation Army.

Good Life Good Death Good Grief will also be running a stall so come along and say hi!

Doors open at 12.30pm and the event starts 1.30pm. Admission is free, but attendees are asked to register in advance.

Register for the event here.

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.

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