Warwickshire libraries to host 'death cafes' to help reduce stigma around death

Libraries across Warwickshire will be hosting free group sessions for residents to talk about death in the hosts of reducing the stigma around the topic.

Kenilworth Library. Photo by Google Streetview
Kenilworth Library. Photo by Google Streetview

Warwickshire County Council’s library service recently launched its ‘Death Cafes’.

The aim of the ‘Death Cafes’ is to break down the taboos and feel more comfortable whilst speaking about death and end of life, so that they can feel more empowered and confident if they ever need to reach out for support relating to this topic either now or in the future.

The free group sessions will be hosted each month in a different library location across Warwickshire.

These are not designed to offer grief or counselling support but are an opportunity for people to discuss the notions of death and dying in an accessible, respectful and confidential space without judgement, and without any particular objectives or agendas.

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The sessions are run by experienced facilitators and include light refreshments for all participants.

Death Cafes already happen in more than 81 countries all over the world.

The next sessions will be taking place at Alcester Library on October 20 from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm (to book go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/death-cafe-alcester-tickets-311695197727?aff=erelexpmlt) and at Kenilworth Library on November from 10.30am to 12.30pm (to book go to:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/death-cafe-kenilworth-library-tickets-408281760737?aff=ebdsoporgprofile)

Cllr Andy Jenns, portfolio holder for customer and transformation, said: “Death can often be considered quite a macabre, morbid, or even scary topic.

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"The Death Cafes will help to tackle this unease in a safe library space by empowering individuals to explore their ideas and feelings about death in a friendly and informal way.

“We need greater awareness and ease around the subject of death within our local communities, as it’s not something commonly discussed, and yet many people have been impacted by the death of someone close during their lifetime, especially during the pandemic.

"The Death Cafes encourage an openness and reflection in conversation which in turn will help people to feel more comfortable talking to friends, family, and neighbours if they need more support.”

The Death Café events are being hosted in partnership with Compassionate Communities, part of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), and The Omega Course, a local organisation providing a course about death and dying.