Compassionate Communities West Sussex

In West Sussex, we are developing a ‘Compassionate Communities’ approach to supporting people through death, dying, bereavement and loss.

A network of health and care organisations, including community and voluntary sector organisations, have come together to take action as part of ‘Compassionate Communities West Sussex’.  We have asked people in our communities what a compassionate community means to them, and developed our vision to reflect what people told us.

Our vision

West Sussex is a place where people living with illness and dealing with death, dying, bereavement and loss feel supported by their friends, family, neighbours and the people they interact with in everyday life in emotional and practical ways. 

The places where people spend time – libraries, cafes, places of worship, shops, clubs, workplaces, schools, and virtual spaces – are safe, compassionate spaces where people feel included and where they find comfort and reassurance at difficult times. 

People of all ages who are experiencing crisis and loss feel connected and valued, and they know that others in their community are looking out for them - willing and able to listen and to provide practical help.

Compassion and kindness have been more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen so many examples of people’s capacity to be there for their friends, family, neighbours and others in their community over the last year – Compassionate Communities in action across West Sussex.

Dying Matters Awareness Week 2021

Join the Dying Matters movement

It has never been more important to have open conversations around death, dying and bereavement. Organisations in West Sussex are working together to support Dying Matters Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021) and running a number of events and activities which are free to attend.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2021 is the importance of being in a good place to die – physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually and digitally. More people than ever are choosing to die at home, and the pandemic has seen this number rapidly increase. But everyone’s wishes are different, and it’s important to think about it, talk about it and plan for it. Find out more about making an end of life plan in this short film on the BBC website

Activities planned by Compassionate Communities West Sussex partners:

  • The As You Are Centre are running a free Zoom session 'Supporting people in your community with bereavement and loss' - Friday 14th May, 1.30-3.00pm. See our Events page for more details.
  • The Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors are running a free online session 'Freeman Brothers introduces the funeral industry - Tuesday 11th May, 11am - 12pm.  See our Events page for more details.
  • The Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors are running a free online session 'Meet Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors' - Thursday 13th May, 11am - 12pm.  See our Events page for more details.
  • Time to Talk Befriending are facilitating a Zoom conversation around - 'A good place to die: what does a place need to be, to be good?' - Wednesday 12th May, 10am - 11.30am. See our Events page for more details.
  • Healthwatch in Sussex are hosting a 'Conversations about End of Life: what’s important to you?' webinar on Wednesday 12th May, 12-2pm. See our Events page for more details.
  • Citizens Advice in West Sussex are running a webinar on Funeral costs and other practical tips for people dealing with bereavement. This webinar will provide advice and tips on funeral costs and financial support, including wider information and support available, and a tour of West Sussex Libraries bereavement resources.  Available from Friday 14th April on the Citizens Advice website.
  • Professor Bobbie Farsides, Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School is hosting a conversation with writer Fiona Mason, end of life doula Li Mills and palliative care consultant Dr Simone Ali on Thursday 13th May at 6.30pm.  See our Events page for more details.

As many of the activities are online this year, there are also events taking place in Brighton and Hove that you may be interested in. See the Brighton & Hove City Council website for more information.

West Sussex County Council Library Service

Explore the wide range resources on the Library Service's Bereavement Support page, including links to grief support services, podcasts which tackle the sensitive subject of death, and library booklists for all ages. Visit your local library this month to find books on loss and bereavement. They can even print copies of their booklists and the leaflets on the Dying Matters website for you - just ask! For more information, email Lavinia McHugh.