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Chester le Street area

A Hospice in County Durham is to launch a new project aimed at getting people to think about death and dying – and the practical issues around it such as power of attorney, care plans, wills and funeral plans.

St Cuthbert’s Hospice is beginning the long term campaign Everything in Place with a series of events in the Chester le Street area in May.

Louise Johnson, Community Liaison Officer, at the hospice, said: “This is a really important project for our communities. We want to break the taboo of death and dying.  We need to make death part of life – instead of something that creeps out of the darkness – it is coming to everyone!

She said that statistically around 70% of people say they would prefer to die at home. But fewer than half actually do.

The project is delivered in partnership with Cestria Housing and is in association with local health and carer support organisations, hospice volunteers and the Chester le Street Area Action Partnership.

It is timed to coincide with the national Dying Matters week and will launch with a bucket list event  at Chester le Street Market on May 16th , in which shoppers will be asked to answer questions on their thoughts about death, and write the things they want to do before they die on a white board, creating a Chester-le-Street bucket list..

She explained that as the population ages, more and more people develop illnesses that can impair their judgement or ability to communicate their feelings. It’s important that especially older people plan ahead while they are still well enough to do so. Otherwise it can cause problems for them and their families in the future.

Louise said the sessions have been designed to enlighten people about powers of attorney, wills, funeral plans, funeral poverty, care in advance of need and explain how sharing your likes and dislikes can make a difference.

She said: “If you end up suddenly having to go into a care home and they don’t know your preferences, then you probably won’t get them.”

People  will also be able to speak about their spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological needs and also map what help they can get already available in the community. As ever the problem is communication – there are loads of community groups doing really important work, it’s knowing where they are and how to access them.

The bucket list stall at Chester le Street market will be on from 10am to 3.30pm on Saturday, May 16th.

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