The Weston-super-Mare community network project, led by the Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group at the University of Bristol, harnesses creative and community assets to tackle inequities in end-of-life care and bereavement support and mitigate social isolation and loneliness. The project, which recognises that those living in the poorest areas of the country are less likely to access end-of-life care or bereavement support, consists of several workstreams of activity supporting collaboration between the local integrated care system, people with lived experience and people providing community assets, including arts and culture initiatives. Outcomes include generating community knowledge, commitment, capacity and outputs that will help counter these inequities.
Through a series of creative workshops participants have explored techniques to facilitate discussions on death and dying and received training in techniques such as No Barriers Here, which uses arts-based methods to facilitate conversations about death, dying and advance care planning, and Grief Gatherings, small, free informal discussion groups about grief and loss.
As part of the project, collaborators coproduced events and activities for Good Grief Weston, a festival held in May 2023 in partnership with Super Culture. The festival draws on the approach of Good Grief Festival, founded by project lead Dr Lucy Selman in 2020, which aims to open up compassionate conversations around death and bereavement. In Weston-super-Mare, the event included a range of creative workshops and performances including a ‘grief rave’, film, music, comedy and theatre, and a large-scale community arts project of more than 800 forget-me-not flowers created by members of the community in tribute to those they have loved and lost.
Videos featuring snapshots from across the programme of events in Weston-super-Mare, as well as contributions from the organisers and participants can be viewed here.
Find out more about NCCH's and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG AHW) Creative Health Review >>