Kirklees libraries create compassionate space to talk about bereavement

Kirklees Libraries add to their tally of awards with a nod for their work to create a safe space to talk about death and dying.

The team won the Libraries Connected Health and Wellbeing Award 2021 for their collaborative work with Newcastle Libraries and Vision Redbridge in London, to make libraries a compassionate space for people to talk about death, dying and bereavement. 

In 2019, the Death Positive Library project received £50,000 funding from the Carnegie UK Trust, Wellcome and the Wolfson Foundation to research people’s attitudes on death – a topic which is often considered taboo.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the team created an online environment to carry on this important work especially for those residents who had suffered a bereavement.  A series of online events badged ‘Tickets for the Afterlife’ has seen people come together for book readings, film screenings and opportunities to speak to authors who have written about death and dying.     

Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Corporate said: “Kirklees Libraries are no strangers to limelight – they have a role in national government efforts to combat loneliness; they are Libraries of Sanctuary offering support to refugees and asylum seekers joining our communities; and now they have received recognition for their important work to encourage people to talk about death and dying.

Katie Ingham, Kirklees Libraries (left) and Anita Luby, Vision Redbridge with award.

“The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult due to the pandemic, and I’m delighted to see Kirklees Libraries win this award for their collaborative work to support people as they deal with death and bereavement in these testing times.  Congratulations to the team.”

Carol Stump, Chief Librarian for Kirklees and President of Libraries Connected said: “Libraries are seen as safe spaces in communities, ideally placed for facilitating discussions and work around difficult subjects, like death and dying. We’re so proud to have been part of this important and innovative library project, which, as a result of the positive way the work has been received, is now going to be rolled out to many more authorities.”

Further information about the project can be found on their website. 

Huddersfield Times

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