Coffin project gets everyone talking

Coffin project gets everyone talking

With NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) coffin community project well underway, local residents have been getting creative with their entries.

The local health body’s project to decorate a coffin with images and words from local residents was launched to encourage people to talk openly about death, dying and bereavement and to make plans for their end of life care.

Entries have been submitted from across West Lancashire, with residents using everything from poems and jokes to photographs and drawings to share their thoughts and feelings on the subject.
Puala Jones, 51, from Simonswood, is one resident who is getting behind the project and thinking about her end of life plans in advance. The mum of two is keen to plan for the future while celebrating the life she is living.

Puala said: “The coffin community project is a great way of expressing anything you want about death and dying. I have lots of ideas about my end of life care and funeral so it was nice to be able to share my thoughts in a public project. I’ve submitted something that makes me laugh and I hope it will do the same for others.

“By being open about death and dying, not being afraid to talk about it and making the plans that we want, we can make sure we’re not leaving really difficult decisions to those we love. I’ve planned my funeral down to the smallest detail; it’s my funeral so why wouldn’t I have it the way I want it?”

Puala has not only written her will and selected a power of attorney, she has also chosen a trike to carry her coffin, opted for a cremation and chosen her music, and also spoken to her children about her wishes.

Dr Simon Frampton, local GP and board member of West Lancashire CCG, added: “This project is about removing the stigma surrounding death and having that initial conversation about what we want to happen. Our project is designed for everybody of all ages.”

Dr Karen Groves, palliative care lead at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and Queenscourt Hospice, added:

“The reaction to the project from the community has been interesting as there is clearly a reluctance to discuss death and dying. However, that is exactly why we are doing this. We have had some excellent submissions and it’s fantastic to see so many local people realise that planning and talking about death is important for all of us, and doesn’t have to be as morbid as everyone thinks.”

The coffin will be unveiled in Dying Matters Week in May and can be used in future by anyone in West Lancashire to promote end of life issues. To find out more about the coffin community project and to download a submission form and full terms and conditions, visit our coffin community project page.

The coffin project has full support from Queenscourt Hospice and national palliative care organisation Dying Matters.