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Dying Matters in Manchester

Manchester plays host to some world-leading events for clinicians focused on death and end-of-life care, but conversations about dying must not only be limited to professionals.

Dying Matters Week 2019 takes place nationally in May, with the theme ‘are we ready?’ and aims to get everyone engaged in considering practical and emotional preparations for death.

This year specific topics are allocated to each day. They are: funeral costs (Monday), memorialisation (Tuesday), grieving for a pet (Wednesday), support for those estranged from or who have no family (Thursday) and diversity and inclusion at the end of life (Friday)

Some of the themes are particularly poignant in Manchester, such as funeral costs. A recent report in The Big Issue highlighted Manchester as one of the cities where funeral poverty is an issue and there are significant levels of ‘pauper’ funerals paid for by local authorities.

Funeral comparison website Beyond has also highlighted Manchester as a place where the differential can be particularly great between costs of funerals organised using an independent funeral director and those organised using one of the major chains. According to analysis of figures the firm holds, the difference can be up to 73% in Manchester, with the average cost of a funeral through an independent funeral director being £2,844 in 2018 compared to £4,930 through a chain.

This year’s Dying Matters leaflet says: “Talking about death won’t make it happen and avoiding these conversations won’t prevent it.

“It’s always an emotional time when someone we care about dies, but it’s made easier if we know that all the plans are in place, they had the care they wanted, the funeral is all set, there’s no dispute about the will. It makes a tough time easier to deal with.”

During the week, which begins on Monday, May 13, the LGBT+ Centre at Sidney Street Cafe will host the Rainbow Death Cafe, creating the chance to talk about death and dying ‘in a relaxed, LGBT friendly community cafe space.’

The event takes place: Thursday, May 16, 5pm to 6.30pm, at Sidney Street Cafe, LGBT+ Centre, 49-51 Sidney Street, Manchester, M1 7HB.

Places are free but must be booked via: eventbrite

There is also a free screening of the film ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ about Marina, a transgender woman, who struggles to be accepted by the family of her older boyfriend who then dies suddenly.

It takes place: Friday, May 17, 6pm to 8pm, at LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester, M1 3HF.

Places are free but must be booked via eventbrite

In July, Manchester hosts a national conference on effective non-medical prescribing in end of life care. The event is designed for current and aspiring non-medical prescribers.

Then in September, the city is the home for Suicide Bereavement UK’s 8th International Conference - an event to inform and guide professionals who come into contact with those bereaved by suicide.

Further information on planning for death and opening conversations about it can be found via Dying Matters information pages.

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