Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Jessie Williams, Groundswell and death-talking workshops

On the day that I met her Jessie was off to host a ’10 Things to Know Before You Go’ workshop. As you do.

“We recently held an event in a bar. Death and alcohol – well, why not?”

Jessie Williams heads-up operations for The Groundswell Project, a network of death literati, doulas, palliative care specialists, death talkers and supporters who want to relocate the end-of-life experience into the everyday.

The ’10 Things’ workshop is a mainstay of Groundswell’s work in the community, a way of normalising discussions about death.

“It’s not only for people in the street. Professionals can benefit as well.”

“Yesterday I took my dog to the vet, he’s 14 years old and so we wanted to know more about what would happen when it came time to have him euthanised. Well, the vet could hardly hold a conversation about it. She kept changing the subject, and lowering her voice like, wanting to avoid the subject.”

After 5 years Groundswell is still true to it’s grass-roots origins, but Jessie is tasked with moving them into the realm of training services with the aim of equipping consumers so that they can be more death literate. And not only consumers, but also service providers and corporate groups.

The ’10 Things’ death-talking workshop series is part of Groundswell’s effort to take death literacy education to the community, health professions and corporate Australia.

Workshops are being held in Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Sydney during November (

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