Compassionate Communities West Sussex supporting Dying Matters Awareness Week 2021

West Sussex residents are being encouraged to talk about death, dying, bereavement and loss as part of Dying Matters Week 2021.


Release date: Thursday 6 May

West Sussex residents are being encouraged to talk about death, dying, bereavement and loss as part of Dying Matters Week 2021.

The theme of the week is the importance of being in a good place to die – physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually and digitally. There is no right or wrong place to die; it will be different for everyone. But it is important for families to think about it, to talk about it and to plan for it. To mark this national awareness week, West Sussex County Council, along with other local organisations including the NHS, our local hospices and voluntary sector, are holding a range of events and seminars.

The webinars are free to access, and will help residents to develop knowledge, skills and understanding around death, dying, bereavement and loss. These include:

  • ‘A good place to die: what does a place need to be, to be good?’ from Time to Talk Befriending – Wednesday 12 May 10-11.30am Please email to book your place (on a first come first served basis). RSVP no later than Friday 7 May by midday. Further event details including the Zoom link will be sent via email to attendees on Monday 10 May 2021.
  • Funeral costs and other practical tips for people dealing with bereavement, from Citizens Advice in West Sussex – available on demand. Access from Citizens Advice website from Friday 14 May.

During the week, NHS colleagues will be promoting the ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment) process, which creates a personalised recommendation for someone’s clinical care in emergency situations where they are not able to make decisions or express their wishes. For more information, see

Anyone looking for resources to support with grief can visit their local library where specialist books and information are available. Find your local library at, or explore the wide range of online resources on the Bereavement Support page, including links to grief support services, podcasts which tackle the sensitive subject of death, and library booklists for all ages.  

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health at West Sussex County Council, said: “People and communities have experienced multiple losses during the pandemic. For those who have been bereaved, Covid-19 restrictions have had an impact on almost every aspect of their experience.

“We hope Dying Matters Week will give residents the opportunity to have important conversations about death and loss. Planning for death is more important than ever in a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has taken so many lives through circumstances that are beyond our control. We want people of all ages to be in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally and with the right care in place. These seminars can help through giving people the knowledge, understanding and confidence to have those conversations.”

West Sussex County Council has been working in partnership with As You Are Centre in Southwick to deliver webinars on bereavement and loss awareness. Nicky Hitchcock from As You Are said: “We know from talking to people in the webinars we have been running this year that there is a strong desire for people to share their experiences and to feel more comfortable having conversations about death and dying. Dying Matters Awareness Week encourages people to talk more openly about death and dying so that more people can be in a good place when they die. This quote from Brene Brown resonated with many of our participants: “We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”

West Sussex County Council has partnered with other local organisations to form Compassionate Communities West Sussex. This network of organisations is working together to support people through death, dying, bereavement and loss. You can find more information about what’s happening during the week on our webpage

Dying Matters Week (10-16 May) is a national, annual awareness week which aims to get people talking about death, dying and bereavement.

For more information about bereavement, visit:

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