Suffolk Libraries and St Elizabeth Hospice have launched new book collections to support people through bereavement at several of our libraries.
The Compassionate Communities book collections are available at the following libraries: Stowmarket, Framlingham, Lowestoft, Ipswich, Southwold, Hadleigh, Rosehill, Broomhill and Chantry.
The books have been carefully selected by Suffolk Libraries' stock team and have been provided by St Elizabeth Hospice thanks to funding from the East of England Co-op.
The book collection and advanced care planning training sessions at Stowmarket Library have also been supported by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council. The books cover a range of subjects related to bereavement and compassion and are appropriate for a range of ages with some devoted to helping children and young people understand grief and loss.
(L-R) Jemma Wood, Head of Volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice; Jess Prosser, Trusts Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice; Hugh McElhinney, Volunteer Community Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice; Kat Reading, Community Development Manager at East of England Co-Op; Kellie Dimmock, Information for Living Librarian at Suffolk Libraries; and Vivia Bamford, manager of Framlingham Library.
Some libraries are also now running regular Compassionate Care sessions to help people with advanced care planning with support from St Elizabeth Hospice.
The sessions are designed for anyone over 18 to help them plan for their own death or that of a loved one. The sessions help someone make known their wishes, feelings, beliefs and values are before they become unable to do so, so that they and the people around them can make choices that reflect their wishes. The sessions cover the four key themes of personal, financial, legal and medical.
By starting these difficult conversations earlier, it can make the process easier for everyone when it comes to discussions about someone’s care, support, or treatment.
Kellie Dimmock, Suffolk Libraries Information for Living Librarian, said:
“It is wonderful to have been working in partnership with St Elizabeth Hospice on the Compassionate Care - Compassionate Communities project since last summer and now we are ready to launch our new Compassionate Communities bookcases with wonderful book stock at Framlingham this week with an amazing day of activities.
"We want to spread the word and promote all the work and training that has gone into this making this partnership project happen, and to be able to provide the community with a new opportunity to come along to the free themed talks and sessions in Framlingham Library (and soon other libraries) to learn more about future planning needs, in order to make life a bit easier for everybody.”
Hugh McElhinney, Volunteer Community Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, a role which sees him lead on the hospice’s Compassionate Communities work, said:
“We are so pleased to be able to launch and provide this Compassionate Communities book collection alongside Suffolk Libraries, East of England Co-op and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council. Through Compassionate Communities we are seeking to help the local community have open conversations concerning death, end-of-life and grief, so that we can all understand how we can better help one another. Libraries are real community hubs and are the perfect locations for us to highlight Compassionate Communities to people throughout Suffolk.”
The official launch of the book collections took place at Framlingham Library on Thursday 16 March at 10AM as part of a special day to mark the launch of the project.
You can find examples of recommended books on bereavement in our advice section and there is more information about Compassionate Communities on the St Elizabeth Hospice website.
Compassionate Care sessions are now running at Ipswich County and Framlingham libraries. Southwold Library will be launching sessions on 24 April and Lowestoft Library will be starting sessions on 5 May.