Virtual Death Cafe to be hosted by West Yorkshire school as Covid-19 continues to claim lives

A Free virtual Death Cafe is set to be hosted by a West Yorkshire school to give people the chance  to get together to talk about death and dying as Covid-19 continues to claim lives.

By Mark Lavery
Saturday, 20th June 2020, 6:00 am
Helen Green
Helen Green

The Oasis School of Human Relations at Boston Spa near Wetherby will host the Death Cafe event on July 14.

The first Death Cafe was held in London in September 2011 with the aim of increasing awareness of death to help people make the most of their lives.

Since then there have been 11,151 Death Cafes in 72 countries

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Oasis associate Helen Green said July's event will be the 20th Death Cafe that Oasis has hosted over the past three years.

She said: "Normally we meet for a couple of hours and drink coffee and eat cake.

"Clearly that isn’t now possible, but we are hopeful that this virtual meeting will be equally welcoming and thought provoking.

"A Death Cafe is an opportunity to talk about death, with no agenda, no expectations, no predetermined questions.

"It isn’t a therapy or counselling session but a discussion group.

"The conversation will flow from the people who come to the meeting and their interests and concerns."

She added: “It’s not always easy to talk about death and dying, but sadly it’s becoming a discussion that needs to be had with some urgency in the uncertain times we are now living through.

"What we do know is that it is much easier for people to cope if they can plan for their own deaths and those of their loved ones.

"And that means talking about it. Death Cafes are now an established and effective platform all over the world, for enabling people to open up and talk about death and dying, and that’s

what we want people to do when they join us on July 14.”

The Death Cafe will take place from 11am to 12.30pm on July 14. Places will be limited to 20 people.

It is free and tickets can be booked on Eventbrite using the link https://bit.ly/3fswYUU

Death Cafe was developed by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz.

They realised that a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about death.

Having identified that death had become a bit of a taboo subject, Mr Underwood felt it would be good to provide a relaxed situation - a space where people could come together in a safe environment with the aim of talking about death, dying and related issues.

The first Death Cafe was held at Mr Underwood's house in Hackney in September 2011.