Park campus prepares for Northampton’s first ‘death café’ this Halloween

Date 5.09.2017

Northampton residents will be able to confront a few social taboos over tea and cake as the town hosts its first ever ‘Death Café’ this Hallowe’en.

The pop-up café is a social space created for people to get together and have an informal chat about issues surrounding death and end of life.

To be be held in the Pavilion Café on our Park Campus from 30 October – 3 November, the free event is open to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

As death is traditionally seen in Britain as something unmentionable until the time arrives, free tea, coffee and cake are provided to help facilitate talking.

The official objective of a death café is to increase understanding of death while also creating a chance for health/care professionals to talk about it. The aim with this event is to create further, pop up events across the town and wider Northamptonshire.

Although the café is not a support group, experts are on hand to sign-post people toward specialist and professional help if needed.

Dr Jane Youell, a freelance Chartered psychologist who specialises in end of life care and dementia issues, is in charge of the event. Her interest in getting people talking about death stems from her own experience of her father’s end of life care: “My Dad had been in hospital for a few weeks before he passed away and we had received really good care from the excellent nursing team. But the closer Dad got to death the more they backed away; there was a sense that professionals weren’t really that comfortable being around us.

“There was a sudden curtain of silence around us, despite all of us knowing what was to come. If I, as a specialist in older age care, am thinking this, how are people new to all of this coping? I thought then and there that what I should try and take this experience and give other people the chance to start talking about the unmentionable.

“Despite the subject matter, the Death Café is above all a friendly and conversational experience and I look forward to talking with people when it opens its doors on 30 October and throughout that week.”

The Death Café is open from 2:30-4:30pm, 30 October-3 November in the Pavilion Café at the University of Northampton’s Park Campus.

People who wish to attend can email Jane directly:

The death café movement was initiated by a Swiss sociologist and anthropologist Bernard Cretazz who wanted to break what he termed the ‘tyrannical secrecy about death’.

Find out further information about the Death Café movement.

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.