The first ever Dying Matters Community Grant funded project has taken place in Barking & Dagenham.
The East African Education Foundation were awarded a grant to produce a one-off comedy and information event around the theme of death, grief and end of life care planning.
‘Let Us Talk About Dying Matters’ took place on Sunday 24th July at Hedgecock Community Centre. Alongside comedy, music and food, speakers included Nassor Haroub, Chair of the East African Education Foundation, Ali Mkubwa – Chief Financial Officer of Community Funeral Relief, Daud Juneja from Al-noorcet and Issa Mujahid of Al Bir wa Taqwa.
Topics covered body repatriation, financial affairs and UK law, end of life care planning and will writing, and funeral and bereavement services for Muslim communities.
According to the organisation’s founder, there was an untapped need for a powerful event looking at death and dying within the community. Dr Mohammed Salim described this as twofold: to both ‘break taboos’ about talking about death; and to provide specific advice and information relevant for the organisations’ Muslim service users.
Combining these topics with comedy, arts, culture and food, this innovative - and unique - event created a friendly, community-orientated environment in which to discuss death and grief.
Attending from Hospice UK, Marketing & Campaigns Officer Ruby Wroe described the atmosphere. “There was lots of laughing, lots of interaction, questions, and really a feeling of openness around addressing these topics in a communal environment.
“This was the first Dying Matters Community Grant to be brought to life, and it was brilliant to see how the East African Education Foundation used the funds. We’re excited to see the other grantees develop their projects over the coming months.’’
The East African Education Foundation have worked within their community for over 15 years in a range of capacities, from food-bank services, to COVID-19 support and youth clubs. As an organisation they are experienced in responding to the needs of their communities and were well placed to design an event that would resonate well with their service users.
That aim – to be led by communities – is what drives the Dying Matters Community Grants programme, which is supported by Dignity. In our mission to open up conversations about death, we must listen to different communities, understand their needs, and support the conversations and approaches that work for them.