We collect existing national and international evidence- and practice-based tools and resources to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of Compassionate Communities. Below you’ll find a repository of existing resources that support the building of and research into Compassionate Community approaches to experiences of serious illness, death, dying and loss. This is meant to be a living repository and will be updated frequently with new additions. If you have a resource to share, please contact us.
Check back regularly for new updates!
New links and info are added frequently!
Charters and foundational documents
- The Compassionate City Charter (revised 2021) (Link) "The Compassionate City Charter includes 13 steps that cities, towns or villages may take to publically recognise those who are dying, caregiving or grieving and to make their locality a supportive and open place for these processes to take place in."
- The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) (Link) "Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities. Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy life-styles to well-being."
Compassionate Community Projects and organisations
- The Resilience Project: Educating and Supporting Children around death, dying and bereavement (UK) (Link)
Good Life Good Death Good Grief
The Resilience Project consists of five lessons covering the subjects of death, loss and grief. The lessons are aimed at pupils in Primary Six or Seven (aged nine to 12 years) and address experiences and outcomes from three curriculum areas: Health and Wellbeing, Science and Religious Education.
- The Truanca Project (UK) (Link)
Good Life Good Death Good Grief
The Truacanta Project is a new initiative being run by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, and funded by Macmillan Cancer Support. The project was set up to support local communities across Scotland who are interested in taking community action to improve people’s experiences of death, dying, loss and care.
- Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) (AUS) (Link)
La Trobe University Public Health Palliative Care Unit
The ‘Healthy End of Life Project (HELP); offering & providing, asking & accepting help’ is a research-informed and evidence-based public health palliative care resource to guide implementation in communities
- Compassionate Plymouth (UK) (Link) Compassionate Plymouth was founded in January 2017, when a few people with a shared vision registered the city with Charter for Compassion’s global Compassionate Communities Initiative. Thus Plymouth became one of around 450 communities across the globe to begin the journey towards a greater culture of compassion, empathy, inclusion and unity. One of CP’s primary tools is The Virtues Project, a character education programme endorsed by the United Nations and used in over 100 countries worldwide.
- Compassionate Neighbours (UK) (Link) Compassionate Neighbours is a social movement of local people enabled and supported to be more compassionate in their local communities. They provide social and emotional support to people towards the end of life due to age or illness. They also share their knowledge and experiences of end of life, death, dying and loss within their community and provoke engagement with these issues.
- Verb(l)ind (BE) (Link) Non-profit organisation focused on creating opportunities for connection through creative interactions and events. The name Verb(l)ind is a play on words in Dutch on the verbs to connect and to blind.
- Reveil (BE) (Link) Towards a warmer grief culture. Non-profit organisation that organises modest concerts at over 100 burial places in Flanders on November 1st. They use music, poetry, visuals, dance and life stories. Watch Pieter Deknudt's TedxGhent talk: 'Let's Grieve Together'.
- Compassionate University (BE) (Link)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Being able to empathise is a human quality. Still, sometimes, we handle someone’s passing too easily, and don’t always consider the feelings of a fellow student or colleague who is dealing with something serious the way we should. Suffering and sorrow come in many forms and compassion can be expressed in many ways. By organising activities, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel wants to show everyone in its community the numerous forms in which support and compassion can be expressed. Here, you can find an overview of their actions.
- Death Café (UK / Int.) (Link) At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'. A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session. The Death Café website offers how-to guides, a way to list your Death Café event and a way to search for Death Cafés in your area!
- Coffin Club (UK Link / NZ Link) Coffin Club NZ video introduction (must-watch!)
Clubs where members make and decorate their own coffins, meet socially, and discuss death.
"Makers of Fine, Affordable Underground Furniture" - Coffin Club NZ
Beyond the Spoken (BE) (Link) "Workshop for unacknowledged loss"
Beyond The Spoken collaborates with artists to design and develop new, custom-made rituals to acknowledge the large and small 'tipping points' in life.
Fika House (BE) (Link) The Fika House is a Bruges non-profit organization for people who have been confronted with the loss of health, either for themselves or with someone they know. Fika is a Swedish concept which means taking time to sit together around a cup of coffee and cake. The organization provides meetings, workshops, pathways and discussion evenings that explore what living after or with an illness can mean and how to find a new handhold. Fika House recently published a final report based on Bachelor papers by students at KULeuven. You can download the report (in Dutch) below!
(686.06 KB) "pdf"
- ATELIER IK (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) Grief therapist and teacher Lesley Vermeyen, together with her husband, makes cemeteries child-friendly with serene, respectful and above all very poetic interventions. These "play artworks" are based on in-depth research about grief processing and handmade to suit the location.
- Boven De Wolken (Above the Clouds) (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) Boven De Wolken is a non-profit organization that supports parents when they lose their baby. They do this by giving them tangible memories and assisting them during those first difficult moments. Their professional photographers are closely selected and do so with the necessary training and expertise, for free, with heart and soul, with love for precious memories and with respect for the parents and their baby. The images are lasting memories that will never fade. Images that help parents learn to live with the loss of their child. Images that they can proudly show to everyone, because 'sterrenouders'* are also proud parents. (* 'Star parents', a Dutch term referring to parents whose baby died just before, during or shortly after birth.)
- Verlieskunst (Art of Loss) (NL) (Link) - (Dutch) With Verlieskunst, Babet Te Winkel is on a mission to create a new (visual) language for mourning and loss, because we cannot stop at 'words cannot express'. Among other things, she creates this new visual language in the form of Loss Cards, an alternative to traditional bereavement cards. She does this in collaboration with great illustrators and artists. Babet sees the current, limited supply of cards as a metaphor for how much space and attention there is in our society for mourning, pain and loss. Therefore: time for a grief revolution!
- Het Berrefonds (The Berre Fund) (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) The Berre Fund wants to be a handhold for (grand)parents, family and friends when the unthinkable happens to them: the loss of a child. In recent years they have developed a wide range of services to help you in a way that suits you best. Explore their operation on this website and use the phrases at the top to search specifically for the information you need today.
- Lost & Co (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) Lost & Co is for young people and adults who feel lost at times: for those who have lost someone dear to them or for those who have lost themselves through illness, such as cancer, depression or burnout. At Lost & Co, you get to share your story with a "companion" who knows what it's like or you do something that feels virtuous (something sporty, creative, something sweet). You choose who or what suits you and it costs you nothing. Together, many of us can give loss a golden edge.
- vzw Rouw- en Verliescafé Vlaanderen (Mourning and Loss Café Flanders) (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) The Mourning and Loss Café is a non-profit organisation that offers a new, casual way to bring people together around a difficult theme: loss. There is time, attention and space for loss in an atmosphere of trust and connection. First and foremost, it's all about dis-meeting and everyone is welcome. After all, loss excludes no one; sooner or later we are all confronted with it. Because loss has so many faces, the topics covered are also very diverse. Find a Mourning and Loss Café near you via the link above.
- Amfora (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) Amfora provides a language for naming farewell and death. Incurably ill and elderly people who know their lives are coming to an end often feel the need to talk about it, although for many this is not easy. They conduct Amphora interviews themselves, but they especially want to share their expertise through multi-day training and education for healthcare professionals and volunteers. Participants learn how to bring out a story in people during an interview. They incorporate that story into a booklet as a lasting and tangible reminder for the next of kin. In this way an end-of-life interview works as a bond over death.
- Fara (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) Fara is a non-profit organization that makes pregnancy choices discussable. Are you pregnant and was it unplanned? Don't know what to do after a prenatal diagnosis? Did you ever make a choice and are struggling with it? Fara is here for women, men and couples. We offer a listening ear and professional guidance.
- YOT (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) YOT is a philosophy of life lab, located in the Magdalena Church in Bruges. Eline Van Steenkiste works there on "new rituals". The search for a new language of mourning is an important part of this. For example, at YOT they designed the "small remembrance ritual for home. With the ritual box, you give words to loss, make a gesture in tribute and gently recall memories.
- Avansa (BE) (Link) - (Dutch) In their project 'a contemporary farewell ritual', Avansa started from the need to say goodbye or commemorate a farewell together in various communities. More and more, life/work communities are diversely composed. In all times, in all cultures, people make use of rituals to reflect together with others at important moments on that which is difficult to grasp, where connection with others is very important.
- 'Mortals' (NL) (Link) The Dutch Council for Public Health and Society has published a podcast series on death and dying. Available in Dutch only. The series consists of 3 episodes: 1) How can we live together with death? 2) Death and time 3) Can we also not talk about our death?
- 'Fika Encircles' (BE) (Link)
A podcast about being ill at a young or older age and about the precarious balance between illness and health. The podcast consists of 2 episodes:
1) 'My illness or work do not define me'
2) 'I have an immense drive to live'
Listen to the podcast via 'Kaal is ook een Kapsel' ('Bald is also a haircut') in your podcast app.
- Public Health Palliative Care International (PHPCI) (intl.) (Link)
PHPCI is the world association and network focused on communicating the importance of public health ideas and approaches in palliative care at a global level.
PHPCI promotes practice learning, professional support, and facilitates local and international communication between members around the world in their individual attempts at embedding a public health approach to the practice of palliative care. Every two years PHPCI holds a world conference.
For more information about the 2022 conference, see here.
- European Association for Palliative Care Reference Group on Public Health and Palliative Care (EU) (Link)
The reference group on public health and palliative care brings together all the major public health initiatives in palliative care in Europe.
The main aim is to promote and improve palliative care via public health approaches and promote public health and health promotion as essential elements of national and international palliative care policies and strategies.
Training courses and guides
- Being With Dying (USA) (Link) A Professional training program for clinicians in compassionate care of the seriously ill and dying. The training program addresses the need for healthcare providers to develop knowledge and skills in the psycho-social, ethical, existential, and spiritual aspects of illness and dying, and covers core issues related to the care of people facing serious illness, dying, death, and grieving.
- Last Aid project (DE) (Link)
"As with First Aid, Last Aid is intended to impart knowledge about humane help and compassion in difficult situations."
Last Aid is a course that provides basic knowledge and encourages people not to turn away from the dying, and care for them in the place of their choosing with increased confidence. The course offers practical guidance and teaches basic skills.
- End of Life skills for everyone (EASE) (UK) (Link)
Good Life Good Death Good Grief
End of Life Aid Skills for Everyone (EASE) is a course, intended for anyone who wants to be able to support someone with issues they face relating to death, dyign and bereavement. The course was designed to enable people to be more comfortable and confident supporting family and community members with issues they face during dying, death and bereavement.
The course has been developed by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.
- POP OUT: Designing for Death (USA) (Link)
Institute of Design at Stanford University
A class using the topics of death and legacy as a way to practice immersive research skills and navigate ambiguity. The class explores these themes through several distinct perspectives: palliative care, digital legacy, and human-centered design.
Guides and Toolkits
- Grief in the Workplace (COCO - VUB) (Link) Grief is a normal response to a significant loss, such as the death of a friend, family member or colleague. It can have a long and far-reaching impact on all aspects of life, including work. You carry your sorrow with you, even in the workplace. With this set of specific dos and don'ts the VUB supports colleagues when confronted with grief and loss.
- Grief for the Student (COCO VUB) (Link) There is a chance that students will come across it during their studies. A fellow student may lose a loved one or yourself may have to face the loss of someone you know. To help students, Compassionate VUB has set out a few tips.
- Scottish Compassionate Communities toolkit (UK) (Link) Good Life Good Death Good GriefA collection of resources that provides ideas and information that will be of practical use to people wishing to make their local community more supportive of people going through difficult times that can come with death, dying, loss and care.
- Compassionate Communities Toolkit (CA) (Link) BC Centre for Palliative CareThis Compassionate Community Toolkit guides organizations and groups interested in building a caring, supportive network for people affected by serious illness, end of life, care-giving, and grieving. It was developed with input from compassionate communities champions from across British Columbia (CA).
- Compassionate Community Startup Toolkit (CA) (Link)Pallium CanadaThis toolkit provides essential information, resources, and templates to launch a Compassionate Community and rally people in your community to provide important physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and practical support to people facing life-limiting illnesses and their families and caregivers.
- Compasssionate Communities workplace Toolkit (CA) (Link)Pallium CanadaThe Compassionate Workplace Campaign was developed by national and international experts in caregiving, grief, and employee wellness in consultation with stakeholders representing employees and small, medium, and large businesses across Canada. The campaign consists of tools, activities, and communication materials to help raise awareness and build an understanding of serious illness, caregiving, and grieving experiences in the workplace.
- The Compassionate Workplace (AUS) (Link)The GroundSwell project wants to help workpalces reach their full potential of being vibrant, connected and compassionate communities. The GroundSwell Project offers Compassionate Workplace survey tools, professional development workshops, and spcielised grief training for management.
- Mourning in the workplace - Compassionate Bruges (BE) (Link)The Compassionate Employers working group provides a space for meeting and inspiration for employers/companies who want to work around grief in the workplace. On their webpage they offer several documents with info and resources around grieving at work.
- Studio DöBra toolbox (SE) (Link)Karolinska InstitutetDeveloped by the DöBra research programme, this toolbox offers suggestions about how to develop and facilitate intergenerational meetings about dying, death and loss. It contains five exercises to stimulate conversations.
- IHF Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care (IE) (Link)The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) developed this toolkit in consultation with healthcare staff in acute hospitals, residential care and nursing home sectors, and those working in bereavement support and education. The toolkit includes resources and guidance on subjects like communicating through PPE, care of the dying person, supporting the bereaved and self-care for staff.
- Stil geweest (Link) / Toen was het stil (NL) (Link)Two Dutch websites to support people grieving from a loss by suicide, to share stories and to remove the taboo of speaking about (grief after) suicide. Stil geweest specifically focuses on children and adolescents who have lost someone to suicide.
- Community tool box & reader (USA) (Link)The Community Tool Box is a free, online resource developed at the University of Kansas for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. Their mission is to promote community health and development by connecting people, ideas, and resources. The reader can be found here.
- Modern Loss (USA) (Link)Candid conversation about grief. Beginners welcome."Modern Loss is a place to share the unspeakably taboo, unbelievably hilarious, and unexpectedly beautiful terrain of navigating your life after a death. Beginners welcome.This project grew out of two friends’ separate experiences with sudden loss, and their struggle to find resources that weren’t too clinical, overtly religious, patronizing or, frankly, cheesy."
- MyGrief.ca (CA) (Link)Canadian initiative to help people understand and work through their grief with the help of various online modules using video and text.
- Better living together with death (NL) (Link)The Dutch Council for Public Health and Society has published a podcast series and inspirational advice to inspire listeners and readers to think about the different ways we can better live together with death.
- 'What are Compassionate Communities?' guest lecture slides (BE)Slides from a yearly guest lecture given by COCO at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and other educational institutions. Slides in Dutch.
Below you can find a list of other international information hubs that list important resources, information and events which may not be found here.
- Public Health Palliative Care International resource list (Int.)
- Compassionate Communities Hub (int.)
- New Health Foundation (ES)
- Compassionate Communities Network (AUS)
- Dying Matters (UK)
- Murray Hall Community Trust (UK)
- The Compassionate Communities Exchange (CA)