Death Café West Hampstead write up, May 2015
This was our 4th Death Café West Hampstead and part of Dying Matters Awareness Week. Philomena Corrigan co-facilitated.
One journalist attended and took part in the closing circle. He was filming for a Huffington Post website article which included an interview with me and brief shots of the actual Death Café. It was published to be part of Dying Matters Awareness Week. See it here:
Last year, at Death Café Hampstead, during Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 our Death Café was well attended and we organized a separate one to be filmed for Metro online. It was a small group of 8 people or so around one table. Soon afterwards we lost the venue at Café Rouge in Hampstead.
During Dying Matters Awareness Week 2014 we held two packed Death Cafes on the same day at Café Rouge, one being specially filmed for South Korean TV. 60 people attended including a great number of journalists who wrote for various magazines (one for WI) and newspapers and for online mags. Judging by the reduced numbers of journalists and film crews over the last three years, could the interest in death and Death Cafes be waning? Could it be that death has become a more common place topic and is no longer ‘news’? Death Café Hampstead ran from April 2013 - June 2015 and was hugely successful. We had a small group of facilitators, one for each table.
Since then many more Death Cafes have sprung up in the London area, Death Cafe Finsbury Park, hosted by Caroline Dent and Liz Wong, and now by Caroline with Philomena Corrigan, amongst them. And ithere is Death Cafe Hitchins hosted by Salli Lovett who has been going since 2014!
Starting up a monthly Death Café at La Brioche in West Hampstead in January this year, we have room for up to 30, just as did at Café Rouge. But so far only around 11-16 people came each time. With a smaller number of people attending meetings have a very intimate atmosphere and Roger, the owner of the café is accommodating and supportive of what we are doing, so it is all good.
18 booked to attend
13 attended plus two facilitators
10 feedback forms were returned
Average age: 43.7
8 women: (aged 27– 66) 2 men (aged 27 & 81)
Overall, how would you rate this event?(10 = excellent, 1 = poor) 8.9/10
People's experiences of this Death Café:
Fascinating. I really liked the opportunity to talk about all aspects of death, since it is such a personal experience. It was very interesting to hear people’s perspectives and experiences. Social worker, female, 32.
Getting more interesting. Still is a lot too much respect for religion and spiritualism. Retired psychiatrist, male, 81.
It was really mind opening. In our group there were people from different backgraunds and beliefs. Everyone had different experience with death. We laughed, got serious, it was great. Product designer, female, 33.
Interesting to meet different people and hear other’s experiences and perspectives. In future I feel something should be said about confidentiality and not sharing in the wider group other people’s experiences that they might have talked about in the smaller groups. Social worker, specialisng in palliative care, female, 32.
I found it very interesting and we discussed a number of topics. Both serious and humorous on the subject of death. Would be interested to attend a further Death Café. Retired transcriber, female, 66.
Always interesting and wonderful to share thoughts , feeling, ideas and experiences. Interesting ideas and suggestions to take away and reflect on. Teacher, female, 62.
It wasn’t just about recent grief, it was about everything that humans feel and do regarding death. From laughing about it to partying, to crying about it, even preparing for it. Video producer, male, 25.
Very helpful. Opens up possibility to think about issues that are very difficult to talk about anywhere else. Complimentary therapist, female, 62.
Interesting, educational, therapeutic, funny. Charity worker and Shiatsu practitioner, female, 53.
I found it very easy to be open and speak to everybody. The atmosphere was open and friendly and I was surprised how quickly time went and how much I enjoyed myself. Student, female, 27.
What motivated you to attend this evening?
6 x I have been bereaved
5 x I want to prepare for my own death (and for parents death)
7 x I wish to learn about end of life issues (death & life in broad sense)
1 x come to film for Huffington Post
Religious/spiritual orientation in childhood and now:
2 x Jewish/Jewish
1 x Fundamentalist from my grandmother with whom I lived until aged 10.and now atheist, a live member of the Humanist Association
1 x Muslim/non-religious
1 x as a child no religion/now with a spiritual belief
1 x Jewish/ Aetheist/Christian
1 x Christian/ Taoist
1 x Christian/not sure
Have you attended a Death Café before? If so, how many?
6 x came for the first time
1 x came for the second time
1 x third time or more
1 x fourth time
1x seventh time
Do you, or are you planning to host a Death Café?
1 x maybe