People across west Suffolk are being invited to have a grown-up debate about dying and palliative care as part of a national awareness week.

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A ‘be ready for it’ drop-in session will be held in The Arc in Bury St Edmunds on Monday next week, where people will be encouraged to plan for their future, speak openly about death and remove any stigma around discussing it.

It has been organised by the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy, St Nicholas Hospice Care and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and ties in with the start of Dying Matters week,

Maggie Parsons, cancer and end-of-life programme manager with the academy, said: “This important event will bring together various organisations from across west Suffolk to raise awareness of issues relating to death and dying and the services which are available as people reach the end of their lives.

“Many people still feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about death – and that’s something we’re keen to change.

“We hope that we can break down barriers, change behaviours and encourage people to discuss their wishes openly with their friends, family and relatives so that dying well becomes a natural part of a good life.”

Visitors will be able to share their aspirations by completing the sentence “before I die, I want to….” on a special wall, encouraging them to think about what really matters to them.

Other organisations showcasing services at the event, include Eastern Organ Donation, Co-Operative Funeral Services, Suffolk Family Carers, Gross and Co Solicitors and the Death Café. Those attending will also be given the chance to ask questions or pick up information.

Barbara Gale, chief executive of St Nicholas Hospice Care, said: ““I’m delighted the hospice is working with so many organisations to help raise awareness of such an important issue. Death and dying is still a taboo subject for many, but by talking about it we can help to dispel some of the myths and ensure people are accessing the services they need at the end of their lives.”

The event runs from 9am-4pm. Visit www.bereadyforit.org.uk

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