Birmingham St Mary’s will be opening its doors this month [MAY], in a bid to get local people talking more openly about death, dying and bereavement.

To coincide with national campaign ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’, the Selly Park-based hospice will be hosting a day full of arts, mindfulness and conversations to help break the taboo around discussing death.

The unusual open day, which takes place on Friday 18 May, is open to everyone and will include activities such as meditation, creative art sessions, and exercise – all of which will inspire and provoke conversations about end of life. 

Attendees will be able to tour the hospice’s garden and conservatory, as well as take part in a Q&A session with nurses and End of Life Doulas – a group of trained individuals who help those who are dying to feel safe and supported. They will be talking about ‘What does dying actually look like?’ and ‘All the questions you wanted to know about death but were too afraid to ask’.  

Families are also welcome, as there will be a dedicated crafts corner for kids, whilst parents will have an opportunity to speak to the hospice’s child bereavement counsellors on how to talk to children about death and dying.

The open day is in collaboration with BrumYODO – which is a growing group of local artists, undertakers, hospice care professionals and more – who believe that talking openly about dying will support more people to experience a “good death”. The day forms part of their ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ festival – an eclectic two-week programme of events, performances, exhibitions and workshops across Birmingham.

Sharon Hudson, community lead nurse at Birmingham St Mary’s and BrumYODO committee member, said: “We all face death, dying and bereavement in our lives and yet, it’s a topic that many of us are either too scared to talk about or don’t know how to bring up. By giving people the confidence to open up those conversations as a part of everyday life, we can help break down the taboo and ensure more people and their families have the best possible quality of life as they deal with illness and approach dying. 

“We hope that by welcoming people to Birmingham St Mary’s, we can show them what really happens behind the doors of a hospice. More often than not, people will tell me that they are pleasantly surprised at how positive and peaceful our hospice is – there is a lot of living happening here – so it’s about getting people here and altering any preconceptions they may have.”

Birmingham St Mary’s provides vital care and support to local people living with life-limiting illness.

Its open day takes place between 12 and 6pm at 176 Raddlebarn Road, Selly Park, B29 7DA. All activities are free of charge and there is no need to book.

To find out more about our open day, take a look here.

To find out more about BrumYODO, visit their website