Saturday 1 July 2017

R.I.P. The Bucket Project: Born 11.07.2011 - Died 30.06.17

After almost six years, the work of The Bucket Project has come to an end on Friday 30th June 2017. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, supporters and everyone who has helped us to keep the topic of death alive. A special thank you to Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool for hosting us and to Liverpool CCG (formerly Liverpool PCT) for investing in a unique piece of community engagement which worked to make death, dying and loss less of a taboo.

It has been a privilege to lead on this project and I have enjoyed every part of this role, from the creativity and freedom to develop it in my own vision to research and delivering annual Dying Matters events – it has been the best job I have ever had.

Although I am sad to say goodbye to The Bucket Project, I am moving on to something new and the complete opposite of talking about death – I am preparing to welcome a new life into the world!

I’d just like to remind you all to live in the moment, appreciate what you have, love those that are important to you and don’t be afraid to say how you feel. Life is for living!

If you would like to request any hard copies of our newsletters or promotional materials, some may still be available at the Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool, Speke Road, Woolton, L25 8QA. To check in advance, please call 0151 801 1400 and ask to speak to a member of the administrative team.

Electronic versions of the reports and newsletters will remain available on this blog and you can still see our old posts on:

Thank you all for helping to keep the topic of death alive and encouraging others to see death, dying and loss as part of normal life.

I will miss you all.

Kind regards,

Rachael McMeacock | Project Manager | The Bucket Project

Friday 16 December 2016

Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017

We come to the end of 2016 with mixed feelings. The two-year extension we were so pleased to announce in our End of Year 5 Report has now been rescinded by our funders, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They are facing budget cuts, like a lot of other sectors, and are reviewing all of their services and the projects they fund. At the moment, we are safe until March 2017, but are anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of the review in the new year.

Rachael McMeacock, Project Manager of The Bucket Project, receiving her 5 year service award

The positive news is we are still moving forwards with the work of Compassionate Cities/Communities and are leading a task and finish group to develop this initiative. This could prove all the more important with the cuts facing health and social care services, where we will need the community to step in to support those that are dying, their families and carers as well as the bereaved. The Telegraph recently printed a story about a similar initiative, which you can read here

As part of this work, we have been compiling a list of end of life and bereavement organisations across Liverpool as well as collecting case studies to help others plan and prepare for end of life and death. If you have a story to share, we’d love to hear it. Read some of the stories we have collected so far here.

Both the Helper Service and Our Time Liverpool, a time banking project, are involved with the task and finish group. They have been sharing their expertise and best practice models to help develop the direction of this work. We also have a great mix of people from a range of backgrounds who bring a wealth of personal and professional experience to the group, and we thank them all for their contributions. 

We hope to have established firm foundations for a Compassionate Liverpool before the potential end of The Bucket Project. If you would like to get involved or support Liverpool in getting this status, please get in touch.

You can find out more about Compassionate Communities, Compassionate Cities, Marie Curie’s Helper Service and Our Time Liverpool by clicking the highlighted text.

We would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We hope that 2017 brings us good news and the opportunity to continue working with the people of Liverpool. Look after each other, be kind and take care.

 Image taken from Desktop Nexus

Tuesday 18 October 2016

October 2016 events at the World Museum Liverpool

October half-term is fast approaching and we are pleased to announce that we are hosting another Day of the Dead celebration on Wednesday 26th October from 1pm – 4pm, in partnership with the World Museum Liverpool. Our event is free, fun and family friendly. There will be art based activities, Mexican music, a wishing tree and our specially decorated altar honouring those that have gone before us.

If you would like to add a picture to our altar, please bring it along. We will have some craft items to help you personalise the frame and we encourage you to leave a message on the back, sharing a memory about them. Your image will join others from past events, alongside our skull decorations and bright flowers. If you need us to print off your photograph, please email it to us before the event.

We can often talk about difficult subjects a lot easier when we're doing something therapeutic. Arts and crafts can be enjoyed while we talk about the topic of death, or reminisce about loved ones who have died. A lot of us don't have the opportunity to talk openly about those we have lost, as some people shy away from it for fear of upsetting others. We believe in keeping alive the memories of people who have been important to us, and that them dying does not mean we cannot talk fondly of them and the impact they had.

There will also be two more Day of the Dead events, ran exclusively by the World Museum Liverpool on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October. More information can be found here.

There is also an exciting exhibition at the museum, which is also connected to the topic of death, which runs until 26th February 2017 – Animal Mummies Revealed. This fascinating exhibition explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods.

Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, the exhibition will also include a recreation of a subterranean animal catacomb, creating an immersive and atmospheric experience.

Mummified jackal, Oriental Museum, Durham, Copyright Kate Wightman, taken from Liverpool Museum website

Using animal mummies from a variety of UK collections, the exhibition will also look at the use of science, such as CT imaging, to learn more about the subject. Find out more here.

Thursday 21 July 2016

Sibling Summer Work Experience 2016

Hi, I am Thomas McKindley, and I’m Rachael’s younger brother. For the past two weeks, I’ve been on my work experience with The Bucket Project. The aim of the project is to make death easier to talk about, which I think is important.
Before working with The Bucket Project, I was already quite open to talking about death and the afterlife. My sister and I often have interesting conversations about the afterlife - do we just stop existing? Do we reincarnate? Is there a Heaven and Hell? Do we become ghosts? I’ve always wondered and been fascinated by what happens after death.

I know most people are scared about death and want to avoid it; I don’t want to die either. If it was an option, I’d rather become a vampire and live forever. But that’s not going to happen. We need to be able to talk about death and dying and know how to deal with it. It’ll happen to us all eventually so we shouldn’t be worried about discussing it.

I’ve helped out with redesigning the ‘Before I Die I Want To…’ postcards which I found very interesting. This is really positive and encourages people to become more motivated to do something before they die, like maybe climb a mountain, do something charitable, travel around the world, see some wild animals or try something you never normally would. Before I die I want to visit Harry Potter world and become a real wizard.

Image from The Bucket Project

I have enjoyed my time with The Bucket Project and believe in the work they do. I think more people should start thinking about death in a positive way and not be afraid to talk about the topic of death.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Dying Matters Week Review 2016

Dying Matters Awareness Week 2016 is now over! We haven’t had long to put our feet up and recuperate before we’re evaluating the events, uploading pictures and launching a new Gallery tab!

There’s lots happening behind the scenes on Compassionate Liverpool/Dying Well Charter/Compassionate Cities. We’ll share more news on this once it is ready. For now, we would like to review our events from last week and offer a huge thanks to everyone who helped out, supported us or took part.

Day 1 saw us meeting the owls at Sunflowers Cancer Support Centre. In addition to meeting these glorious animals and having some fantastic conversations, we learnt a lot about these birds of prey that was connected to death.

Murray the owl

To encourage the owls to fly to the trainer, she would use some fresh meat to entice them. After initially saying they were chicken feet, and after I had to ask why the feet were pink and without claws, we entered a discussion about chicken farming.

Mango munching the male chick foot

We were told that baby chicks are sexed at one-day old. Female chicks are valued for their egg laying and tastier flesh so male chicks, who will fight other males to the death, are classed as a by-product. Male chicks are commonly used as animal feed and fertilizer. Mice are also fed to the owls on a weekly basis.

Thanks goes to Sunflowers for allowing us to host a table and to Hack Back CIC for letting us meet their owls.

Day 2, we held an open table in the afternoon at Siren Liverpool. The weather wasn’t on our side and it poured down with rain. We did have several people stop by and talk to us, taking away some of our new promotional goodies.

 Tea, cake, chat and promotional goodies from The Bucket Project

Free cake helped and we had some staff members from different floors walking past twice, before coming back and asking about the Day of the Dead display and engaging in conversation with us.

Mini Day of the Dead display at Siren

Thank you to Siren Liverpool for hosting us and providing delicious tea, coffee and cake. Special note to our members Bette and Margaret from Co-Op Funeralcare Garston for supporting us at three of our events.

On Day 3 we attended an art group, back at Sunflowers Cancer Support on Aigburth Road. After introducing the project and showing them some of our promotional items and decorated Day of the Dead skulls, we had some fascinating conversations. Shakespeare was mentioned, how surviving cancer can change your outlook and how we communicate with children about death. We discussed the collaborative art piece from the World Museum and how art can be therapeutic and help when having difficult conversations.

Artists at Sunflowers

Day 4 at the World Museum Liverpool for Meet the Mayas with a bit of Day of the Dead thrown in. We had another ten people contributing to the collaborative art piece, which is almost finished. Plans are in place to have it framed and hung on display within the Treasure House Theatre of the museum, with a plaque thanking everyone who took part.

More people adding their unique touch to our art piece and Adam explaining about the Mayas

After colouring in, we were told about the Mayan skulls and shared wild theories from Ancient Aliens. As most of our guests were hoping to catch a show in the Planetarium, and then missed it due to our long and engaging chat, Adam (our main man from the museum) arranged a private, advance viewing of a new show just for us.

It was an interesting and absorbing show with many detailed facts flowing at such a pace, it was hard to not get lost in the twirling constellations above. It was of particular interest when they started to talk about life-spans of planets, stars, galaxies and the whole universe and explained that these magnificent things will also die one day. Nothing is immortal. It was quite a humbling experience that left you with a greater wonder of life and our place in it. Highly recommend anyone visiting the World Museum to book tickets to this wondrous show.

Viewing the VIP Planetarium show on the left and capturing 'energy' or possibly lighting from the projectors!

Massive thanks to Adam for supporting the event, delivering a talk on the Mayas and treating us all to a VIP Planetarium experience on the day.

Our almost complete collaborative Day of the Dead art piece

Day 5, and our final day of events, was at Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool for It Takes a Community. This was a celebratory evening which gave thanks to the many organisations and people across the city who have supported the hospice in the last twelve months.

Just a sample of organisations that have helped over the last 12 months

Information tables from each of the teams in the hospice were on display with staff and volunteers on hand to chat about their roles in the hospice and to find out how attendees have helped out Marie Curie. The Patient and Family Support Team brought along their therapy terrapin, who was a hit with the kids.

Fundraising table to the left and a schoolboy holding the therapy terrapin

The tour of the hospice was informative, even to someone who has worked there for almost five years! I never noticed how the beautiful stained glass in the Reflection Room, depicted the changing seasons, despite walking past this hundreds of times.

Seasonal stained glass on the informative hospice tour

Our table stood out, and not just thanks to the spider web tablecloth, but more for our Topic of Death Cards. We love hearing what other people interpret the images as, and will be launching another new tab on our blog, which will offer our interpretations and ask you to submit yours. Hopefully, together we can encourage and inspire other people to be more comfortable talking about death, dying and loss.

Table and stand display form The Bucket Project and people below getting involved with the Topic of Death Cards and Day of the Dead display

Thank you to everybody who joined us, supported, hosted or promoted us throughout Dying Matters Week 2016. We’ll hopefully be back with more events this summer. You can view all of the photographs from Dying Matters Week 2016 on our new Gallery.