IN our hi-tech, 21st-century world, very few subjects remain taboo – one of the few exceptions being death.

A new campaign by Colchester’s St Helena Hospice is aiming to change all that, by getting more people in north Essex talking openly about death, dying and bereavement.

Today marks the start of the St Helena Hospice Week, which this year has the adopted theme: It's time to talk.

Holly Smart, head of marketing and communications, said: “We know north-east Essex’s population is growing at a faster rate than the national average, with a higher- than-average proportion of older people, and that the actual number of people dying each year is also increasing.

“We also know most people would choose to die in their homes, in a care home or in hospice care, yet many still die in hospital.

“A lack of openness can affect the quality of support and care available to patients and families. It also affects our ability, as individuals, to die where, or how we might wish to."

What's happing this week

To mark the week the hospice will be hosting a variety of events.

Staff and volunteers working across all the sites and shops will be dressing up in green on Friday to raise awareness.

  • Priory Walk hospice shop, Colchester – bucket collection, Friday, April 4, from 9am until 5pm.
  • Peartree Road hospice shop, Colchester – Cup Cake sale, Friday, April 4, from 9am until 5pm.
  • Magdalen Street hospice shop, Colchester – £1 sale rail, Monday to Saturday, 9am until 5pm.
  • Tendring Day Centre Jackson Road, Clacton – afternoon tea, Monday 2pm. All welcome but e-mail to book.
  • Joan Tomkins Day Centre, St Helena Hospice, Highwoods, Colchester – afternoon tea, Friday, April 4, 2pm. All welcome, but e-mail hgrimes@sthelena to book.
  • Halstead hospice shop, High Street – £1 sale rail, Monday until Saturday.
  • Dovercourt hospice shop, Kingsway – cake sale, April 4.
  • Clacton hospice shop – lucky dip, from Monday until Saturday.
  • Frinton Music and Collectables, Connaught Avenue — lucky dip, Monday to Saturday.
  • Frinton Books, Connaught Avenue – 3 for 2 on all books, Monday to Saturday. Also a 50p draw with a box of modern chart fiction books as the prize.