Northampton residents turned up for a unique social event as the University of Northampton hosted the county’s first ‘café’ where people could talk about issues around death and dying.
Organised by Northampton psychology alumni Dr Jane Youell, the event is taking place each weekday this week between 2:30 and 4:30pm at the universities Park Campus in the Pavilion Café.
Guests gathered in small groups to discuss death related topics with free tea, coffee and cake provided to help generate talking.
University of Northampton researchers and health and care profession students were on hand to help. Conversation pieces included the role of humour in death and dying and how we find it hard to find the right words when we talk about end of life topics.
Dr Youell said: “Our café was a bit of unknown quantity, but we are very pleased with how things went yesterday. One of the loveliest things was the hug that two attendees, who hadn’t met each other before, gave each other as they left.
“Our guests took part in a whole variety of discussions, which flowed really nicely thanks to our brilliant student facilitators.
“One of the guests even told us that coming to the café ‘confirmed my need to make more preparation for my own death’ which really underlines why we did this: to help people start talking about one of the most difficult of subjects.”
The free event is open to all, whether you are a student of the University, a member of staff or a member of the public interested in finding out more. Email Dr Youell to register your attendance on one or all of the afternoon sessions: email@example.com
Note to those attending: Park in car park 3 and use the intercom to buzz for entrance to “Pavilion event”. For those who can walk or get public transport to Park campus, those options are recommended.
Special thanks to Alison Ward, University of Northampton, Sarah Hunt, Arts for Health, Annette Ward, University of Northampton & Willen Hospice and Stacey Ackerman, Milton Keynes University Hospital for all their support and encouragement with this project.
Dr Jane Youell is a freelance Chartered Psychologist specialising in the relational well-being of those living with dementia. You can find out more about her work on janeyouell.com.