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.

    26th February 2024

    Pilgrims Hospices volunteers dedicate time and passion to Margate Bookshop: A heartfelt commitment to community and care

    Nick and Gavin (the Volunteer Managers), alongside a team of 34 dedicated volunteers covering 14 shifts throughout the week, are the driving force behind the success of Pilgrims Hospice Old Bank Bookshop. Their unwavering commitment to literature and end-of-life care has made the bookshop a beloved institution in Margate, where locals and tourists alike find solace and fascination among the shelves.

    The team curates a diverse selection of books, ranging from modern classics to literary prize contenders.  For some of the volunteers, like Geoff, their dedication to Pilgrims Hospices is deeply personal, inspired by the exceptional care provided to his late wife, Jane, by the Canterbury Hospice team.

    In addition to his role at the bookshop, Geoff actively supports Pilgrims Hospice’s Stepping Stones Bereavement Support Services. As an active listener, he leads a walk-and-talk group for bereaved individuals within the community. His caring personality, passion for walking and nature serve as a source of comfort and support for those in need.

    Ruth, another valued volunteer, brings her retail expertise to the forefront, ensuring captivating and ever-changing book displays. Her commitment is fuelled by both her love for literature and the support she received from Pilgrims Hospices during her husband Colin’s illness and passing.

    Gavin, finding solace and purpose in volunteering after his wife Joy’s illness, ensures the shop remains open on weekends, demonstrating the profound impact of hospice care during difficult times.

    Nick, with a background in local government, volunteers three days a week, embodying the spirit of community support. His love for the written word shines through as he assists customers and showcases the shop’s collection of vintage and collectible records, all in support of Pilgrims Hospices.

    Together, these and the many other volunteers form the heart of the Old Bank Bookshop, where every purchase contributes to providing essential end-of-life care to those in need. With over £100,000 raised last year alone, the shop’s success is a testament to their dedication and hard work, as well as the community’s generosity and compassion.

    As Geoff, Ruth, Nick, Gavin, and their fellow volunteers continue to pour their hearts into Pilgrims Hospices Margate Old Bank Bookshop, they serve as a beacon of hope and support for their community, embodying the true spirit of volunteerism and kindness.

    For those visiting Margate, the Old Bank Bookshop is on the Parade, opposite the harbour, and is open all week, including Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter and until 5pm in summer. Stop by to support this vital independent bookstore or learn more about Pilgrims Hospices’ pre-loved shops throughout East Kent at Pilgrims Hospices Shops

    If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Pilgrims Hospices or how to access Stepping Stones Bereavement Services, please visit Pilgrims Hospices website, pilgrimshospices.org for more information.

    Pilgrims Hospices provides compassionate end-of-life care and support to individuals and their families across East Kent. With a team of dedicated staff and volunteers, Pilgrims Hospices offers a range of services aimed at enhancing quality of life and providing comfort during difficult times. Learn more at Pilgrims Hospices .


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