2nd May 2024

    Pilgrims Hospices leads conversations on death and dying ahead of Dying Matters Week 2024

    As Dying Matters Week approaches from May 6–12, 2024, Pilgrims Hospices gears up to lead conversations on #TheWayWeTalkAboutDyingMatters.

    This annual event aims to empower people to engage in honest conversations about death and dying with healthcare professionals, family, and friends.


    This year, Pilgrims Hospices is taking a proactive stance by bringing discussions to the forefront. Through the use of chalkboards, the charity will facilitate the ‘Before I Die’ conversations in key locations in Canterbury and Thanet. These conversations will focus on addressing fears and worries surrounding death and dying, as well as planning ahead for grief and loss.

    “We believe that open conversations about death and dying are crucial for individuals and communities to navigate these challenging topics with dignity and understanding,” said Sophie Van Walwyk, Head of Psychosocial and Bereavement Services at Pilgrims Hospices. “By providing platforms for dialogue, we hope to normalise discussions about end-of-life care and provide support for those facing these difficult realities.”

    The events are scheduled to take place at the following locations:

    • Broadstairs Library, The Broadway, Broadstairs CT10 2BS
      Wednesday 8 May – 10:00am – 2:00pm
    • Whitefriars Shopping Centre, Canterbury
      Saturday 11 May – 10:00am – 2:00pm

    All members of the community are encouraged to participate by sharing their thoughts and feelings about what is important for them to achieve before they die, on the chalkboards. Additionally, Pilgrims Hospices will be on hand to offer guidance and signpost attendees to relevant services and resources, including Pilgrims Hospices Stepping Stones bereavement services.

    By providing platforms for dialogue, we hope to normalise discussions about end-of-life care and provide support for those facing these difficult realities.

    Sophie Van Walwyk, Head of Psychosocial and Bereavement Services

    “We want to inspire a compassionate and supportive community where individuals can express themselves freely and honestly,” added Sophie. “By encouraging open dialogue, we hope to alleviate some of the fears and stigma surrounding death, dying, loss and grief, and promote greater knowledge and understanding within our communities.”

    Furthermore, Pilgrims Hospices offers Grief Awareness Training packages from their training centre in Canterbury. To find out more, visit: pilgrimshospices.org/courses

    For more information about Dying Matters Week events and Pilgrims Hospices initiatives, please email eastkent@pilgrimshospices.org.


    Pilgrims Hospices is a charity providing specialist end-of-life care and support to individuals and their families across east Kent. With a focus on compassionate care and dignity, Pilgrims Hospices strives to enhance the quality of life for those facing life-limiting illnesses.

    28th July 2023

    Could you be a bereavement support volunteer?

    Pilgrims Stepping Stones Bereavement Support services started in 2019 to offer support to bereaved adults in east Kent.

    The aim of these services are to help people following the death of a loved one, understand the feelings they have are normal and that being able to share their stories with others in a similar situation can be therapeutic. It also provides an opportunity to gain awareness of other services that might prove helpful, all in welcoming environments. New friendships are often created in such groups and a sense of belonging can overcome natural feelings of isolation.

    The Stepping Stones services currently consist of the following:

    Monthly Bereavement Support Groups held at each of our three Hospice sites:

    Ashford – The first Friday of every month 5:00pm – 6:30pm

    Canterbury – The first Saturday of every month 3:00pm – 4:30pm

    Thanet – The last Friday of every month 4:00pm – 5:30pm

    Weekly Bereavement Support Groups Walking Groups in tranquil settings take place:

    Ashford  – Tuesday morning 10:30am – 12:00pm

    Canterbury – Tuesday afternoons 2:00pm – 3:30pm

    Thanet – Thursday mornings 10:30am – 12:00pm

    These important services are facilitated by trained volunteers and supported by the team at Pilgrims.

    Stepping Stones volunteers come to us from a variety of backgrounds to use their existing skills and develop new ones, following the training we provide.

    If you would like to find out more about these volunteer roles, and how you could become involved in these worthwhile services, please get in touch with our Bereavement Services Coordinator via email Steppingstones@pilgrimshospices.org

    Enquiries and expressions of interested by 31st August 2023

    Click here for details on Stepping Stones volunteer roles along with other volunteer roles for Pilgrims Hospices.

    We very much look forward to hearing from you in the near future.


    Grief is a very natural, normal and necessary reaction to a bereavement  Grief is not a single event. It is a process which takes time to work through, during which we find out how to adapt to our loss. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve.  Our feelings of grief are as personal and individual as any other feelings.

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