The St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney has launched Dying Matters Awareness Week with a series of free events and workshops. Locals were invited along to a happening called “Dying for a cuppa” in London Fields. The event gave residents the chance to meet volunteers and staff of the Hospice, take part in a quiz and sign a “graffiti” wall, expressing what death means to them.
It was the first of a number of free community events held by St Joseph’s Hospice this week.
Sarah Burnard, at St Joseph’s, feels that people often have misconceptions about living and working in a hospice. “A lot of people are very frightened about it”, she says: “But if we can encourage people to come into the building and meet the people who work there, their ideas change. People often think that you come into a hospice and that’s it. We have about 200 patients in the community that we support and a lot of them do come into the Hospice but they go home again because they prefer to die at home.”
While the Hospice staff and volunteers successfully convince passers by to sign the graffiti wall, other locals are a bit reluctant to share their thoughts on dying.
A young couple look, slightly perplexed, at the comments. “My children have seen too many deaths in their young lives due to cancer”, reads one. “That’s really dark”, says the young man.
“It’s not a subject people expect to be asked about on a Monday afternoon”, says Robin Legge, the Community Fundraiser at St Joseph’s Hospice.
St Joseph’s invites locals to come along to a free Garden Tea Party at the Hospice on Friday, 20th May, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm.