Compassionate Communities Movement Grows in Western Australia | Bunbury Courier


The Southwest will host a state forum in August that will delve into a range of discussions on death, death, care and bereavement.

This is an initiative of the South West Compassionate Communities Network, run by volunteers, and called “Let’s Build a Compassionate and Connected WA”.

The Mail will circulate a series of stories on the subject before the forum. The first explains the concept of “compassionate communities”.

A passionate network of volunteers from the South West have joined a global movement to encourage people to speak more openly about death and to better support those who are grieving.

The Compassionate Communities movement aims to promote and integrate social approaches to death, death and bereavement into everyday life.

The network is growing all over the world and the South West created its own almost five years ago.

Since then, its volunteers have launched a range of programs, including a Community Connector program that connects trained volunteers with those who are dying and in need of practical, social or emotional support.

“Some people may need help filling out forms, crying over a cup of tea, or their dog may need to walk – it’s these simple acts of connection that make our community even more compassionate when people have it. most needed, ”said President Leanne O’Shea.

As a social worker my theoretical understanding of loss and grief is strong but emotionally my heart is broken

Lanie Pianta

The network also promotes community education on end-of-life planning, including a pilot program that introduces bereavement support activities in three schools.

Other volunteers in the network organize fortnightly death cafes where people come together socially to break the taboo surrounding death around a piece of cake.

Social worker Lanie Pianta is a strong advocate for the Network and its values. She was caring for her 94-year-old mother full time until she recently entered a senior care facility. Her mother lives with dementia.

“About four years ago, I attended a Dying to Know Day event and reconnected with some members of the network,” she said.

“I have treasured the support they have given me as I take care of my mother, it has been invaluable.

“As a social worker my theoretical understanding of loss and grief is strong, but emotionally my heart is broken.

“I encourage you to attend the next forum. I have seen “ordinary” people act in extraordinary ways in the context of death and agony.

“It is so important to come together locally to support each other, to learn how to have these difficult conversations, how to plan for the inevitability of death and how we can grieve in healthier ways. It strengthens us. , us, our networks and our communities. “

Ms O’Shea said Western culture tends to eschew the discomfort of grief and soften conversations about death.

“This forum is important and we are proud that Bunbury is hosting this event to share the powerful change that can take place when we bring people together in a large hall to hear best practice examples from around the world,” she said .

The forum will be held at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Center on Saturday August 7th. To learn more about the forum and other activities associated with Dying to Know Day, visit or follow the network on facebook.

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