Awareness Week

Every year in May, Dying Matters and our coalition members host an Awareness Week, which gives us an unparalleled opportunity to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda. Dying Matters Awareness Week 2021 will talke place from 10 - 16 May.

Awareness Week case study

End of life care and funeral organisations join forces for an attention-grabbing event in Birmingham.

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Event planning

Thinking about Awareness Week? Get expert advice from independent funeral directors A Natural Undertaking . 


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Hosting an event that takes the end of life or bereavement as its theme? Tell us about it and we'll help you promote it. 

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A look back at Dying Matters Awareness Week 2020
For more people to talk about dying, death and grief, the more people must be willing to listen. It can feel hard to be of a conversation about death, so this was the focus for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2020.
There are still practical steps we want people to take, but it all starts with conversations. Let's talk about it, and let's listen to others too.
A big change for 2020 is that we have a new set of leaflets for you to use. And we're no longer charging for them! You can download them all here, and that page also has information how to either print them yourself or have them professionally printed.


Looking for ideas?

Remember Dying Matters is all year round, so you don't have to hold an event during Awareness Week.

A Dying Matters event can be a simple or as complex as you wish. What matters is that you're creating a space for people to talk about death, dying or grief, and that you're doing so in a way that you feel comfortable you can deliver. There are some huge Dying Matters festivals out there, but they all started small.

Many people start with something like a Death Café or a Grave Talk session. Both are simple ways to gather people together and help them talk about death. Both offer just enough structure to get the conversation moving and keep it on track, but you’ll find that once people start talking they find it hard to stop.

Some use arts as a prompt, while others will organise something more factual – a Q&A with a local funeral director, solicitor and hospice nurse, for example.

There’s no one thing that works for everyone – that’s why we are always thrilled to see the variety of events happening under the Dying Matters umbrella. Pick a topic and format that you find interesting, and let your enthusiasm be part of the marketing.

 A couple of the presentations at our recent launch event have lots of ideas in them. See the full list here - the presentations from Brum YODO and Gentle Dusk will help get you started.

Our friends Good Life Good Death Good Grief have some excellent ideas including the Dining With Death menu - see the full list of resouces here.


As part of the 2018 Hospice UK Conference, we presented the Innovation in Dying Matters award. We had over 20 entries, all of them very creative, and it was hard to choose a winner. 

Listed below are a selection of the entries, in no particular order. If you're looking for ideas for any Dying Matters event, have a look at these and get your inspiration up and running. 


The Art of Stimulating Conversation Project – which began in January of this year – aimed to generate discussions among members of the public about illness, death and dying using the arts to break down barriers in a sensitive way. The project, led by East Lancashire Hospice, involved high schools, sixth form colleges and the university centre in Blackburn.


St Benedict’s Hospice & Centre for Specialist Palliative Care has been strongly committed to the Dying Matters campaign since 2009 and each year has grown its ideas to promote the national awareness-raising week and reach out to more people. In 2018 the hospice decided to make much greater use of digital and explore new, more creative ways to engage the local community in-keeping with the campaign’s theme “what can you do” – focused on their local community.


During Dying Matters Awareness week in May this year, Bolton Hospice hosted a free course aimed at staff in local schools and nurseries called Supporting Families & Children through Loss, Grief & Bereavement.


Hospice at Home West Cumbria (HHWC) describes itself as a small “hospice without walls” covering a large rural catchment area. It created the event “Sing for Your Local Hospice’ which was aimed at people across West Cumbria and invited them to join them singing “Circle of Life’ – either as part of a hospice choir, in their home or in the community. 


St Wilfrid’s Hospice wanted to get people talking about death and dying in a relaxed, friendly environment and on their own terms. They had four different beer mats designed: each mat had a question on one side and a fact or statistic on the other side. Hospice staff took the beer mats out to local pubs and bars where they left them placed on tables and bars. The  beer mats included a QR code that linked to a page on the hospice’s website for those who were interested in learning more about Dying Matters Awareness Week.


Creating a Compassionate City for end of life is a project led by St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth. The concept for the project originated in May at a conference hosted by St Luke’s Hospice titled ‘Plymouth a Compassionate City: What can you do?’ A mandate was produced for the City to implement the End Of Life Compassionate City Charter, and Gail Wilson and the community development team at St Luke’s Hospice helped to create a City EOL Network to deliver the Charter’s aims. There are now over 74 network members from a wide range of organisations in the arts, the NHS, schools, solicitors, councils, care homes, churches, charities and the University.


Read more about the 2019 Awareness Week here 


Awareness Week features

Hosting an event? Share it here

How you can support Awareness Week

32 top tips for running your own event

Working with local media - a press release template, with some tips and tricks

Tips for hospices on how to get involved 





Support Awareness Week

Top tips and ideas for supporting our annual Awareness Week.  


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