Hospice hopes to promote open discussions about death and bereavement

Greg Cooper of the Compassionate Communities project

Greg Cooper, Compassionate Communities lead project manager at St Elizabeth Hospice - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice has announced its involvement with a project to promote open conversations about bereavement, dying and death. 

The Compassionate Communities project supplements the support of healthcare providers by equipping people to support each other with kindness during some of the most difficult times of their lives - such as the death of a loved one or a serious illness diagnosis. 

As part of Compassionate Communities, St Elizabeth Hospice will provide resources and guidance to enable people to feel more confident in having conversations surrounding the ‘taboo’ topics of bereavement, death and dying.

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Greg Cooper, compassionate communities lead project manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: "We aim to help people feel comfortable talking about emotionally difficult experiences by providing practical support, knowledge and guidance as well as developing communication skills and confidence, in order for the public to support those in their own communities experiencing bereavement or grief.

“Often not talking about bereavement or death, can leave many feeling isolated, but through Compassionate Communities we want to help people find the words to tell their stories and ensure nobody is left alone.”

Through nurturing the scheme, St Elizabeth Hospice will encourage members of the community to take advantage of the tools and guidance developed by the hospice.

St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich

St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Available on the hospice website, these resources include free bereavement training programmes, online social groups providing comfortable environments for conversations to take place and guidance for the public on how to work alongside the hospice and establish their own Compassionate Communities.

Open to all, schools, businesses, community groups and individuals can join together and support Compassionate Communities as 'Compassionate Friends' by helping others in their community who are at the end-of-life or are experiencing loss and bereavement.

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One local business collaborating with St Elizabeth Hospice as part of the project is Cuppa café in Felixstowe.

Business owner Sarah Fitch, who recently joined the scheme as a Compassionate Friend, said: “After opening in June 2019, Cuppa has evolved to become a real community hub. We have many customers who have become friends and meet regularly to chat and support each other.

“Before the impact of the pandemic, we hosted events such as Friendly Fridays, which brought isolated people together over a free cup of tea each week, so we were excited to join St Elizabeth Hospice in promoting the Compassionate Communities project.

“Now more than ever before, people need each other for support and Compassionate Communities enables community groups and individuals to join together to ensure no one is forgotten and all have places to go to find help.”

For further information about joining alongside St Elizabeth Hospice as part of Compassionate Communities call 01473 932492 or click here for more information