10 May 2023

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Making bereavement your business

Telling Stories Exhibition Olivia Twist

In response to a recent call to action, we’re hosting a conference, Bereavement and Loss: Time for Change!

When the UK Commission on Bereavement published its report, Bereavement is Everyone’s Business, last October, its Chair, Rt Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, said it was “incumbent upon us all to work together to improve the experiences of bereaved people”.

As part of St Christopher’s response to this call to action, we’re hosting a conference, Bereavement and Loss: Time for Change on 21 June.

The conference draws on a wide range of expertise and views through a rich and diverse group of speakers. Academics and clinical experts including Dr Lucy Selman, organiser of the Good Grief Festival, Alison Penny MBE, Director of Childhood Bereavement Network and Steve Marshall, Palliative Care Social Worker, King’s College Hospital will set the scene, describing contemporary challenges and drivers for change; then Dame Barbara Monroe, former Chief Executive of St Christopher’s, Senior Independent Director of Marie Curie, and a member of the Commission, will present the principles it set out, upon which future efforts should be based.

The day will begin by setting all of this in the context of the views and thoughts of experts by experience. Some of them contributed to an exhibition Mary Hodgson, St Christopher’s Community Action Lead and her team partnered on with Museum of London and artist Olivia Twist, who created art works inspired by some of their shared challenges.

Telling Stories Exhibition Olivia Twist
One of the artworks from the Telling Stories Exhibition created by artist Olivia Twist

Mary’s reflections on the way forward reflect the key finding of the Commission that bereavement is everyone’s business.  

“Rather than crossing the road to avoid someone who’s been bereaved, we should be crossing it to ask them how they are – and that’s true for everyone as individuals and for organisations who should be mobilising their response,” she adds.

And if you’re not sure what you might gain from the day, Mary spells out some crystal clear outcomes: “I hope people leave the conference with a better understanding of the need to work differently, the consequences of not acting and be inspired by the positive power of community support, as well as empowered to follow a pathway for implementing a new model.”

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