East Lancashire Hospice | Covering Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington and Clitheroe areas

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East Lancashire Hospice urges conversation about illness and death

East Lancashire Hospice is encouraging greater conversation around death and dying with a series of events to mark Dying Matters Week.

Drama, art and workshops will examine the taboo subject and aim to get people talking during the national week, which runs from 14-20 May.

The week, which has the theme 'What can you do in your community?' for 2018, will see a variety of events held in schools, workplaces and other community venues aimed at encouraging discussion up and down the country.

The hospice will showcase its Art of Stimulating Conversation (AoSC) project, which involves students, carers, pupils and care homes across East Lancashire. The activities aim to break down barriers when it comes to illness, death and bereavement.

Kingsway Carers Service will hold a Dying Matters event on Monday, May 14 with a mini workshop to create artwork inspired by the week.

Performing arts students from St Christopher’s CE High School, Accrington, will perform an exam pieces based on AoSC on Friday, May 11 from 7pm – 8:00pm, while art students from the University Centre at Blackburn College have visited the hospice and produced work as part of their degrees. There will be an exhibition of their artwork called “Dying to Live” at The Bureau Centre for the Arts on Thursday, May 17 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, which is open to all.

Abbeyfield Care Home in Clitheroe will hold a coffee morning and craft activities on Friday, May 18 and Birchhall Care Centre in Darwen holding an Art Tea afternoon, with tea, cake and crafts on Wednesday May 16 from 2pm-4pm again, all are welcome.

Elsewhere, pupils from Darwen Vale High School have already held an enrichment day around the subject and the pieces they created in workshops will be exhibited during the week for their pupils and staff.

All those who have taken part in events will come together at the hospice on Tuesday, June 26 for a celebration of the AoSC work carried out.

Rachel Shovelton, end of life care educator at the hospice who is coordinating the events, said the week would highlight the importance of discussing illness, death and dying.

She said: “People tend to avoid talking about illness, death and bereavement as they find it too difficult. Yet, having these conversations early and being open about our wishes can make life easier for ourselves and our loved ones when these situations arise.

“The AoSC project and Dying Matters Week aim to break down the barriers to talking about these sensitive issues, enabling people to feel much more able to discuss their feelings around death and dying.”