Announcing plans to open a ‘real’ Death Café in London



Super brief summary:

 

We’re looking to establish a ‘real’ Death Café in London - a physical Death Café that sits at the heart of what is now a worldwide movement. This will be called Death Café London and will be owned and run by the community that funds its set up. If it takes off it could be the first of several. Stay tuned for a share prospectus and more information in the near future.

 

And the long version…

 

Today is 3 years exactly since we held the first Death Café at my dining table where I am sat now writing this. It is amazing to think of what has happened since then.

 

Across the world people have been inspired by the idea of talking about death over tea and cake.

 

Hundreds of us across 23 countries have felt so passionate about the project that we have given time and energy to organise and run Death Cafés.

 

More than 10,000 people have seen an advert and thought ‘A Death Café? I’d like to go to that!’

 

Cake has been served, introductions have been exchanged and Death Cafés explained. The conversations that we’ve shared have been memorable, uplifting and life affirming

 

Our voices have been heard in hundreds of places, from National Public Radio in the U.S. to and the New York Times front page to the New Zealand Sunday Star Times to the Guardian in the U.K.

 

All of this has happened because of a shared belief in the importance and value of talking about death.

 

Together we have shown that many people are actually very keen to talk about death. I think we have also shown that talking about death can be useful, sometimes even fun and on occasion an incredibly beautiful thing.

 

It’s been an amazing 3 years and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved together.

 

I’m convinced that the spread of Death Café is not because we’re doing something particularly clever or ground breaking. Rather I see it as indicative of a ‘shift’ in attitudes around death and dying. Right now there is a new openness to this subject. Death Café has caught the mood and because of this has escalated beyond anything any of us had imagined.

 

The objective of Death Café is to 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. I’ve been thinking about what more we can do that fits with this.

 

As I announced at the start of the year, I’m proposing to set up Death Café London; a ‘real’ Death Café  (in the physical and permanent sense). This will be an open and welcoming place where people who want to can consider death in a pleasant and conducive environment.

 

I can see Death Café London offering 3 things:

 

1. Food and drink

 

Death Café London will be a coffee shop. We’ll offer great coffee and tasty light meals both eat in and takeaway. Needless to say, our cakes will be to die for.

 

2. Events

 

When finding our venue we’ll be looking for a place that is perfect to hold Death Cafés. But the Death Café model is only one of many ways that people can choose to work with death.  In Death Cafe London will also offer other a diverse and high quality portfolio of events focused on death.

 

These might involve art, poetry, film or music. They might be lectures, information giving sessions or practical training. Death Café London will be the perfect venue for any work related to death in the city.

 

By establishing this venture we are hoping to invite more and more amazing work around death into existence. And Death Café hosts from around the world could host Death Cafes there when they happen to be in London.

 

3. Shop

 

Death Café London will be the first place authorised to sell Death Café merchandise. This will be one way of raising money to help make Death Café London sustainable.

 

 

To me it makes sense for Death Café London to be entirely owned by the community.  This idea will only work if others share the vision.

 

As such I will be looking to offer shares in Death Café London for sale in the near future. This will give you or your organisation the ability to support this development and have a say in how Death Café London is run.

 

If we reach our funding target from the sale of shares we will move forward with our plans to set Death Café London up. I would personally oversee the establishment of this venture.

 

If we do move forward and are successful, Death Café London will be the prototype that others across the world can follow to enable them to open a ‘real’ Death Café in their area.

 

I am be looking to issue a prospectus for Death Café London in the near future.

 

If you’re supportive of this venture here are the ways that you can help right now:

- Express your support, questions and suggestions in the comments below or send me an email (underwoodjon @ gmail.com) – I am keen to gage the views of the international Death Café community on this idea.

- Let me know if you’re interested in owning a share of Death Café London

- If you can offer practical help with the project e.g. advice on costings, start ups, fundraising etc please let me know.

 

Please stay tuned for updates here.

 

Thank you so much.

 

 

Jon



Comments


Death Cafe London! Yeah!!

Jon, when you choose the venue these are a few points I would like you to consider.

• Good public transport connections nearby (easy access for me coming from NW2!!)
• Good parking
• Wheelchair access
• Not looking out onto a noisy, polluting main road
• A good Cafe has large windows looking out onto the street and outside seating, French style, to allow people watching, ideally on a leafy street (avenue of trees)
• The interior is beautiful, with mirrors and posters and plenty of wood, a wooden floor.
• A notice board where people can pin up flyers of upcoming events
• A large gallery space in the back which can also be used for events or workshops.

I’d like to see people of all ages coming to Death Cafe London.
The gallery space in the back could be used for large death cafes but also for painting workshops for children and adults, an annual Poetry Challenge could be hosted there to raise money for charity/for Death Cafe London; hold film evenings, invite inspiring speakers coming to town, a creative writing and poetry workshop for children, teenagers or adults, comedy night and theatre performances.

Of course I can think of many events I would love to host there, including Death Cafes for teenagers and people of different faiths.

I’d love to be a regular!

Count me in, I will buy a share.

Josefine


Posted by Josefine Speyer


Not sure on the gothic skulls etc. Is that really necessary? I think a death cafe is a great idea, so why isn't it running? All it needs is a public space, e.g a meeting room for free in a public library and a small subscription or voluntary donation to cover tea and cake; the person wanting to set this up seems to want a business - but it shouldnt be about you!. However, please leave God or any other belief out of the programme... people are of course welcome to believe whatever they wish and to discuss this at the meetings, but there should be no prescription. And that includes the macabre gothic theme


Posted by JaneD


Green Fuse Celebrant

Exciting times! You have our attention and support all the way at Death Cafe Somerset.


Posted by Julie Adrienne Troup


Am in interested in supporting. Please consider accessibility when looking for venue, and am willing to help with that. Confident at public speaking if that helps. Sweeping, stuffing envelopes or sending emails. Share: depends how much £££. Am a bereavement counsellor & supervisor, counsel kids, yp & adults. Good luck and please keep me in the loop.

--
Augene Nanning
MBACP(Accred) Dip Supervision
Counsellor and Supervisor
www.counsellorandsupervisor.co.uk
info@augenenanning.co.uk
Clinic: 020 3411 5376
Mobile: 07503 120 184
Twitter: @CounsellorNLond


Posted by Augene


President of Possibility

I'm interested!!– Not only in your project and/or shares in your London death café, but would be interested in exploring the possibilities in Philadelphia, PA, USA. I can be reached at patty@teachingtransitions.com---my website is www.doingdeathdifferently.com, and www.teachingtransitions.com


Posted by Patty Burgess


Yes!

Dear Jon:

Count me in! Be glad to help stateside in any way I can, including fund raising. Be proud to invest in ownership, too.

Peace,

Kathy Miller, LCPC
Windy City Death Cafe
Chicago, USA


Posted by Kathy Miller, LCPC

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner!

At it again Jon! Fantastic idea. It's definitely a go-er. One in every city. Really interested in the development of your ideas. I remember being in Brussels sitting on coffins having coffee many years ago. It didn't catch on. This will!


Posted by Paula Rainey Crofts


I'm in. And will plan a trip to London just to come. Keep going don't stop. You are so in the right direction! I like the Death Cafe in every city...how fun would that be:)
Be well Jon.


Posted by Karen Van Dyke (San Diego)


Democratic, grass-rootsy. Love that. Death in the community - hurrah! Right behind you, Jon. Let us know what we can do.


Posted by Charles Cowling


Hi Jon
What a fantastic initiative! If you would like a sister cafe here in Sydney just let me know. Thank you once again for bringing death out of the shadows.
Greetings from Marrickville Death Cafe, Sydney, Australia.


Posted by Michele Knight


Yes, it's a winner

Love the idea, want to be there now.


Posted by James Norris


Independent Celebrant

Great idea :) I look forward to the idea becoming real :)


Posted by Jackie Hartley


Independent Celebrant

Ps I would prefer a sugar skull on the logo - more inviting, less macabre?


Posted by Jackie Hartley


I'm so glad to read of this development. I expect to make a modest investment when you're ready.


Posted by Elizabeth, London


Brilliant idea and definitely want to keep updated on the plans


Posted by Karen


Thanks Jo Wild :)


Posted by Jon Underwood

I am very interested in continuing to support Death Cafe. Keep me updated on how it's possible to owning a share or investing in Death Cafe London. I think the works of poets like Emily Dickinson and E.A. Poe would be lovely as well as up and comers. What a wonderful idea you have. And merchandising.... I'd like to see that start now. :)


Posted by Sherry Gilles RN, Certified Death Midwife


@Augene

Thanks so much for your kind offer which I will keep in mind. You're absolutely right about accessibility. I will keep you in the loop. Jon


Posted by Jon Underwood

Good luck, its a brilliant idea! I can't wait to see how this pans out. Love the logo too!


Posted by Jo Wild


Merchandise!

I am excited about the centralized merchandise availability. I hope the various Death Cafe logos become collectors items ala Hard Rock. I can think of at least 20 logos from 20 other cities that I would want to have in a t-shirt or coaster collection!


Posted by Lizzy Miles


Death Cafe Host, Mebane NC USA

Jon, This is brilliant beyond words and I pledge to support you during the marketing campaign and financially however possible. It is my goal to be there during the Grand Opening! Speaking of...is there a planned date for this yet?? So exciting!!! Keep us posted! Memento Mori!


Posted by Sara S. Williams


Thanks everone!

Your support and kind words are very much appreciated. I have been working on this project for a long time on my own and I was nervous posting this overview. "What if they don't like it!" I thought lol


Posted by Jon Underwood

Great idea Jon. I live in a seaside town which is called "God's Waiting Room", because 50% of the population is over 50 years old. Real death chats are rare.

May I recommend the 'Japanese Death Poem' idea, that is, to write a (haiku) poem that sums up your entire life. Reference: 'Japanese Death Poems', Yoel Hoffmann, 1986.


Posted by Paul T. Seto


i have been reading your stuff since searching on line after my mother died almost 2 years ago ..it was a huge relief to find people discussing death .. i have meant to attend but as yet dates didnt suit my timings .. but this is great idea .. always available .. i would definately pop in and poss often ... keep going please


Posted by cath west


Great Idea!

You have my support in any way I can!



Posted by AJWillow


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