Community Action On the Ground

Some of the Compassionate Communities Northern NSW group (and Gillian from the Sunshine Coast!) training up as facilitators of end of life planning workshop - Ten Things to Know Before You Go.

Some of the Compassionate Communities Northern NSW group (and Gillian from the Sunshine Coast!) training up as facilitators of end of life planning workshop - Ten Things to Know Before You Go.

It’s really been an action packed year so far for the National Compassionate Communities Forum of practice. Since launching last year, each group has moved into a stronger sense of purpose and lots of initiatives have moved from ideas into reality in the communities.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few in the last couple of months and I thought it might be nice to share some of what’s happening!


Building Capacity for Death Literacy in the Northern Rivers

Last week, Niki (GroundSwell’s ComCom Local Lead) and I were in Ballina to spend time with the glorious Big Prawn… just kidding!
We were there to run a facilitator training for GroundSwell’s death literacy workshop - Ten Things to Know Before You Go. One of the needs identified by the ComCom group there was to better equip the community in the Northern Rivers region with access to resources and workshops that promote death literacy and better end of life planning. It was excellent to meet such a diverse and passionate group and also fantastic to have Gillian Hall, the lead from our Sunshine Coast ComCom group there to connect and benefit from the course and community connections too. There was a lot of sharing and reflecting on existing palliative care services, hospices and funeral options in the local area. We’re looking forward to hearing how they get on over the next few months in starting up the course and helping their community take action towards better end of life outcomes. If you’re in the Northern Rivers and you want to connect with what’s going on there, get in touch here:


Newcastle’s Safe Place Cafe and exploring possibilities through the Compassionate Cities Charter

Earlier in the year I was up in Newcastle (the weather was still warm, I even snuck in a swim!) and it was great to check out their Safe Place meet up initiative at Birdy’s Cafe. A group meets there every Tuesday morning between 9-11am. There was 7 or so of us and it was a really rich time of sharing stories about our loved ones who have passed away and how we have moved forward. There was a collective sense of empathy and understanding and it was a safe place to talk about whatever came up naturally without it feeling contrived or controlled. The cafe is a great setting with a more private section out of the hustle and bustle of tradies and mothers groups.
After the great cuppa, a few of the ComCom group members met at the local council to explore how the Council might be able to support or promote the work of the group and we discussed the Compassionate Cities Charter and whether it is the right guide for this group. Looking at the listed social actions in the Charter and the underlying aims of each and the way other groups around the world have adopted or adapted them. Stay in the loop with the Newcastle group here:

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The Who’s Who of Non-Traditional Funerals gathered in Bundanoon!

Ever since the Bundanoon ComCom group launched in June last year there has been a strong interest from the community around increasing the knowledge and skills around end of life (death literacy) and one aspect of interest has been in being more empowered when it comes to funerals and after death care. In response to this, a full-day workshop was held at Quest for Life in Bundanoon with presenters including; Zenith Virago from The Natural Death Care Centre in Byron Bay, Jennifer Briscoe-Hough from Tender Funerals in Port Kembla and Kathryn and Lizzie from Sydney-Illawarra based Picaluna Funerals. There was a great, focussed energy in the room of people with lots of great reflections, sharings and lots of questions! It was so valuable to hear real stories from the presenters around the different options and choices when it comes to planning for the funeral / after death care for ourselves and our loved ones. The next FREE workshop in Bundanoon is Sunday June 23rd on grief and bereavement featuring Petrea King, Elle Stube, Michael Barabato and Helen Richardson. Get more info here:


Coffee With Compassion kicks off in the Northern Beaches

The Northern Beaches group has been meeting monthly and the Compassionate Champions (the community action group) have started a cafe meet-up for anyone who is going through grief, caring for someone or simply wants to connect to others in the area. I was impressed with the vigour in which this group are getting their message out there! Cate from Community Care Northern Beaches (the organisation who initiated this ComCom group) brought with her a HUGE stack of flyers about Coffee with Compassion and there was conversation a buzz about where everyone was going to distribute their bundle of flyers; GP’s practice, local aged care facilities, schools, workplaces, local council, RSL clubs and more. It was a high energy morning with lots of connecting and ideas of new ways to reach more people. Next up they will be starting a Legacy Art project and CCNB has a lot of great events on for people in the Northern Beaches.
If you want to get in touch with what’s happening in the Northern Beaches Group, do so here:

Northern Beaches ComCom Group kicks of their monthly Coffee with Compassion Group

Northern Beaches ComCom Group kicks of their monthly Coffee with Compassion Group

It’s excellent to see so many initiatives take off that have stemmed from the communities identifying the issues and gaps in the end of life space that are important to them.

Find out more about our National Compassionate Communities Forum or find a group near you by searching our ComCom map.
What’s happening in your community? I’d love to hear from you.


Holly Smith