What can you do?
To get involved in Dying Matters Awareness Week
This week is Dying Matter's Awareness Week, a national campaign encouraging people to talk about death and bereavement, and to get their end of life plans in place, including making their funeral wishes known.
Each year, we encourage our colleagues to get involved in supporting the campaign by either inviting people into our funeral homes or by going out into their communities to join in with other events taking place.
We've also recently launched our own biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement, as we too believe in the importance of uncovering what it is that stops people from talking about these important topics and to help tackle this taboo - why not take part at coop.co.uk/survey.
What can you do?
We've been speaking to Toby Scott, Head of Communications and Campaigns at Dying Matters about the campaign and what you can do to get involved:
How long has Dying Matters Week been running?
The campaign was formed in 2009, and the first Awareness Week was 2010.
What are the main objectives for the week in 2018?
As always, we want people to write their wills, plan their funerals, decide on organ donation, plan future care and tell others what they have decided. Our theme is What Can You Do? We’re challenging people to do something for themselves, their families and their communities.
Why is it important to you?
My dad died in 2012, and he’d made all his plans. It was only after his funeral that I realised how much his planning was a final gift to us. He had the send-off he wanted, and we could celebrate his life without disagreeing about what he would have wanted.
Who’s involved in running events?
Hundreds of people give their time to organise events, from one-off things to city-wide festivals. Some have a professional link to death or bereavement and for others its something personal. They make Dying Matters happen, and we’re so grateful for it.
How would you like to see Funeral Directors get involved in the week?
There could be open days, or behind the scenes tours, or even just an invitation for people to come and look at funeral options. As long as it encourages people to talk about dying, death or bereavement, it’s a Dying Matters event.
What’s the most memorable activity you’ve heard of?
I’ve seen coffin ball pits, theatre, death cafes… there are so many. Last year I had a chance to visit a modern-day Neolithic burial mound, created by Sacred Stones, where people can have their ashes interred. It was beautiful: modern yet timeless, solemn yet joyous. The funeral sector has changed so much in the last few decades, with so many more options and so much creativity.
How will you be involved in activities this year?
I’m speaking at a couple, and will try to visit a few more. I’m always astonished by how creative people are.
Finally, what’s the one thing you would like the public to do in relation to Dying Matters Week?
Rise to the challenge: we’re all going to die someday, so What Can You Do?
You can visit the Dying Matters website to find out more.