This guide is a Code of Practice for those who are looking to host or run Diealog engagement events, run support groups, educational workshops, or any activities involving conversations about dying, end of life care and death using the Diealog name. However, everybody is welcome to read this whoever you are.
As well as reading this guide we also recommend you read The Diealog Community posts, especially:
– Free Affilate Scheme
– Getting Started
– Generous self-organising network
– Our Shared Values
This Code of Practice is open to discussion, edit and improvement. Please CONTACT us with constructive suggestions or queries.
Thank you for your interest in participating in The Diealog Community!
1. FREE AFFILIATE SCHEME for Working Together with the The Diealog Community
1.1 The Diealog Community operates a free affiliate scheme. This means people who sign up to our principles (‘Free Affiliate Scheme for Working together’ terms and conditions) are authorised to do certain things, i.e.:
• Use the Diealog name for their events.
• Post events to our website.
• Talk to the press and others as an affiliate of The Diealog Community.
1.2 Our principles are that Diealog Community activites are always offered:
• With no intention of leading participants to any fixed view, conclusion or product.
• As an open, respectful and confidential space where people can express their views and support each other safely.
• On a not for profit basis.
• Wherever possible alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!
1.3 It’s also worth stating here what Diealog activities are, and what they are not:
• Diealog activities – “Supporting Each Other for Life” – are primarily to enable us to have open and honest conversations about death and dying, and to grow our circles of support. Secondary outcomes from participation in Diealog activities may include positive changes in our wellbeing and health status, increased ‘death literacy’ (our know-how and skills to act), and mutually beneficial interactions with formal care providers.
• Diealog activities include a mix of ENGAGEMENT and INVOLVEMENT events. For engagement events, Death Cafes are often the preferred model, and for these we explicitly follow the Death Café guidelines to create a time to discuss death and dying without expectations. Involvement activities are primarily through Diealog Groups (peer support model). See below, for more. In addition, Diealog “Supporting Each Other for Life” Core Learning Resources, such as ‘Helping ourselves and others’, provide opportunities to give people information about death and dying, and to learn ‘death literacy’ skills and know-how to act, and may include guest speakers and information materials.
• Diealog activities are relationship-centred, grass roots up, collaborations owned and run by and with local people. However, Diealog activities are not formal organised development programmes to grow the social capital of communities, and while they may give opportunities for community engagement and participation, the Diealog name should not be used as part of a service delivery method for these purposes.
• Diealog activities are not therapies, although therapeutic benefits may result from them. For instance, we are not a bereavement support or grief counselling setting. Diealog activities also do not work for people who, for whatever reason, are not able to discuss death comfortably and openly. There are many projects better set up for this.
1.4 We have established this Code of Practice structure to keep Diealog activities safe. This is also to prevent the use of the Diealog name and Free Affiliate Scheme by those with an interest in leading people to conclusions, products or a specific course of action. Before you put on a Diealog activity, you are asked to sign up to our Free Affiliate Scheme (terms and conditions, to view click here), and to post the news of your Diealog activity to our site. This is also to help spread the word through the Diealog Community, so as many people as possible to get to know that your Diealog activity is happening.
2. How do I get started and then grow Diealog activities?
Diealog involves a flexible, light-hearted and straightforward mix of ENGAGEMENT and INVOLVEMENT activities. Engagement activities are one-off events that are about getting people talking and thinking about death and dying.
2.1 ENGAGEMENT Activities.
If you are a first-time beginner, we generally recommend starting off with a Death Café in your local community (over 4,000 Death Café events world-wide so far!). For this all you need are:
• A host and facilitator.
• A venue with refreshments booked for a certain time and date.
• People who want to talk about death.
Here’s a rough checklist of what you need to organise a Death Cafe:
• Decide who is going to do what regarding refreshments (and cake!) , publicity, facilitation etc. and how this will be done.
• Decide on your venue and set the date and time.
• Sign up to the Free Affiliate Scheme, and post the event on the Death Cafe and Diealog websites.
• Let others know – friends and family, local media, and your networks of work and/or social life.
• Enjoy your Death Cafe!
• Evaluate, write-up and debrief.
That’s it! What makes The Death Cafe format special is the discussion about death and dying, and there is no need for added bells and whistles. However, it is required that you sign up to and follow the Death Café affiliate guidelines: go to http://deathcafe.com/ for everything you need to know and do.
For more information from those who are already involved in Death Cafés .
2.2 INVOLVEMENT Activities
When there are a few of you (minimum x3) wanting to meet regularly for supporting each other, you are ready to start a Diealog Group. For this all you need are:
• A host and peer support mentor (a facilitator just to get going: for more check out Diealog Groups, Getting Started).
• A venue booked for a regular time and date (usually 2 hours, monthly meeting).
• People who want to meet regularly to talk about death and dying (“There’s so much to talk about!”).
Here’s a rough checklist of what you need to organise so that your Diealog Group is well supported:
• Decide on your venue and set the date and time for each monthly meeting (If you know each other well you may decide to meet in somebody’s kitchen or living room each time).
• Decide who is going to host and what you want regarding refreshments, and agree how any costs are going to be covered..
• Decide who to invite (x8 or x9 is generally the maximum recommended size). You may start small and agree to grow with newcomers over time. Or you may prefer to be a ‘closed’ group from the outset.
• Decide if peer support mentor required (read Diealog Groups, Getting Started and CONTACT us if help needed).
• Post the story of the start of your new Diealog Group on our website (and sign up to Free Affiliate Scheme terms and conditions) .
• Enjoy your regular Diealog Group (and at the end of each one always remember to set time and date for the next meeting)!
• Post updated news about the Diealog Group on our website from time to time. Let others know – obviously not breaching your group CONFIDENTIALITY ground rules – friends and family, neighbours and others in your networks may want to start a 2nd group!
For more on Diealog Groups, click here.
3. Final remarks
This guide does not cover all the ways the Diealog Community “Supporting Each Other for Life” activities can and do happen grass roots up!
Diealog ENGAGEMENT Activities: as well as Death Cafés, there are Mourning Cafés, Gravetalk events, Before I Die walls, and numerous other ways of getting conversations about death and dying going, often involving food, music, performances, and festivals – eg Pushing Up Daisies https://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/us/pushing-up-daisies-guide.
Diealog INVOLVEMENT Activities: as well as Diealog Groups, we are growing x4 “Supporting Each Other for Life” core learning resources:
1. Helping Ourselves and Others – compassionate care know-how and skills for everybody
2. Advance Planning – planning and preparing for our future end of life
3. At Home with our dying – ways to enable us to end our lives in the place we want
4. Grief and Loss – understanding and living with the processes of loss and bereavement
These can be adapted to provide part or one day focussed events and/or workshops in your community. CONTACT us to discuss further.
There are also more comprehensive training programmes in the above core learning areas, which are available for the general public, see End of Life Doulas, http://www.lwdwtraining.uk/ .
Whenever you come across a good Supporting Each Other for Life activity or story, please send us it!
These don’t have to be just about Diealog Community activities. We like to post on our website any and all news stories and helpful accounts from anybody and everybody of new ENGAGEMENT and INVOLVEMENT activities which are helping people to live well right to the very end.
This Code of Practice Guidelines is likely to change as time goes by. Please CONTACT us if you’d like to play a role in maintaining it, or have specific suggestions for improvement.
In the meantime thanks for your generous interest in and support for The Diealog Community, and good luck with your Diealog “Supporting Each other for Life” events and activities!