Dying matters to Birmingham locals

Week-long series of events aim to break the last taboo.

Death is often a taboo subject but for the first time a group of local citizens, community organisations, undertakers, doctors and hospices has joined forces to raise awareness about the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement.

Under the name BrumYODO (giving a local spin to the national Dying Matters coalition strapline ‘You only die once’) the community collective aims to positively change attitudes and behaviours around talking about and planning for death, and the need for good end of life care for all.

To support Dying Matters Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2016), the group have a number of exciting events and activities across the city to encourage the Birmingham community to get involved and join The Big Conversation – the theme of this year’s awareness week.

On Monday 9 May well known philosopher and podcaster Nigel Warburton will be interviewing Dr Ros Taylor, Clinical Director of Hospice UK on the ‘Philosophy of Choice in the Face of Death’. The talk takes place at 3.30pm at Fletcher’s Bar in Kings Heath and kicks off a week of daily events taking place there at the BrumYODO pop up shop.

Look out for ‘Before I die’ chalkboards which will be installed in various cafes, libraries and shops in Erdington, Kings Heath, Jewellery Quarter and Solihull. The art project encourages people to share their bucket list aspirations by completing the sentence “Before I die I want to…” on the boards.

Death is on the menu with a series of Death Café events in café’s across the city. A ‘death café’ event is an opportunity for people to meet, drink tea, eat cake and discuss death in a relaxed atmosphere, highlighting the importance of talking about death and end of life. Events are free to attend with cafés taking place across the city; kicking off at Loaf in Stirchley on Monday and including city centre options at Urban Coffee Company in the Jewellery Quarter on Tuesday 10th May afternoon and John Taylor Hospice’s Moments Café on Thursday 12th May morning.

Closing the week long activities will be a disco at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath on Saturday 14th May. Dubbed the Death Disco, the night aims to celebrate life with the music that is important to you. Attendees can submit up to three song suggestions upon buying a ticket. £5 from each ticket sold will go to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice to help them in the work they do supporting those who are at the end of life and their families.

Tina Swani, Chief Executive at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of the BrumYODO community collective as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2016. We all share the same aim which is to help the people of Greater Birmingham have more open and honest conversations about death and dying. Through being a part of the big conversation, we hope more people will enjoy better lives by thinking about what they want at the end of life.”

A full list of supporters and updated details of all the week long activities can be found on www.anaturalundertaking.co.uk/brumyodo or by following the hashtag #BrumYODO on Twitter. Events can also be found on the Dying Matters website www.dyingmatters.org