By Vatican News staff reporter
It’s been nearly a year since the UK went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and on March 23 there will be a National Day of reflection to remember the victims and the bereaved.
Ahead of this commemoration, the Centre for the Art of Dying Well at St Mary’s University begins a major new partnership with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) to train members and volunteers as End of Life Companions.
The aim is that 500 trained Companions will journey alongside at least 1,500 people who are dying, and their loved ones, to provide hope and companionship. The Centre says, “these may be family or friends; members of the local or parish community; or people in hospitals, hospices, or care homes.”
Volunteer End of Life Companions, recruited from the SVP membership across England and Wales, will take part in training developed by the Centre for the Art of Dying Well.
Speaking about the initiative, Jon Cornwall, Director for Membership of the SVP in England and Wales said, “This partnership between the Art of Dying Well and the St Vincent de Paul Society allows training, encouragement and support for members to feel best equipped to be companions at the end of a beneficiaries life when they are their most vulnerable and we are left with the fewest appropriate words of comfort.”
The SVP has 9,600 members in England and Wales, committed to meaningful and long-term befriending of people of all faiths and none. One of the key aims of the partnership with the Centre for the Art of Dying Well is to provide a hopeful presence for many more people as they draw closer to death.