The local NHS in West Lancashire is launching a community project with a difference to support the annual 'Dying Matters' campaign - and help people think ahead to the future.
NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling on people of all ages to submit images or words associated with what death and dying means to them. These can be in the form of poems, words about their own death, a memory of a loved one or anything else relevant around this topic.
The coffin community project, which is being launched to encourage people to express their thoughts on death and dying and to plan ahead, will be unveiled during Dying Matters Week 2015 and used to promote future end of life awareness campaigns in West Lancashire.
The CCG will gather all entries, and in association with Colourful Coffins, will create one coffin for West Lancashire decorated with everyones entries. The coffin will be environmentally friendly and made from cardboard.
Dr John Caine, chair of NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: Despite death being one thing that we all have in common, it is often something that people feel unable to talk about and express how they feel. The coffin community project aims to encourage people to express their thoughts on death in a slightly different way.
The ideas that people could send in are endless. It could be a religious symbol, a story, a joke, a poem, a drawing of a loved one who has died, an image of what you would want to be remembered for, your bucket list, where you would like to die; whatever you think expresses your feelings on the subject.
This is not a competition and neither experience in art or design is necessary.
Please submit your entry to the CCG via email@example.com or FAO Sean Fell, coffin community project, Jubilee House, Lancashire Enterprise Business Park, Leyland, Lancashire PR26 6TR by 20 March 2015.
Entries will need to be submitted alongside a form which will have a space for a brief description of the entry and will allow the entrant to state if would like their name to be included alongside their submission when the coffin is launched. The submission form is available to download at www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/coffin
Entries can also be submitted collectively by a school class, company, charity, community group etc.
Dr Karen Groves, palliative care lead at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and Queenscourt Hospice, told QLocal: "This project is about bringing together thoughts from everyone in West Lancashire to highlight how important thinking about the future is.
"It is only about talking about the subject that we remove the mystery and fears surrounding this final period of life. Life is about living and we do that right up until the moment we die and we should celebrate it. The CCG is giving people the opportunity to look at death and dying from a new point of view that will help that community conversation to take place.
This project ties in with the CCGs on-going efforts to promote education and awareness around end of life. Planning in advance helps both individuals and their families and friends, and ensures your own wishes are met.
The CCG has also produced a video entitled your life, your death, your way, which further highlights the importance of thinking about death and dying. The video is available to view via the following link: http://www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/resources/video/