Battle woman Kate Dyer is at the forefront of what she hopes will be a revolution in the way we approach our own deaths and how we plan our own funerals.
“We don’t do death very well in this country and we want to change that,” says Kate.
Three years ago along with her best friend Kate Tym they launched something unconventional, a little bit left field, they launched a thing called Coffin Club.
Now the Kates are ready to take Coffin Club to the next level and have teamed up with Funeral Director Holly Lyon-Hawk to create a whole new kind of service, a ‘one-stop shop for death’ is how they sum up Coffin Club Hub. It’s the first of its kind in the country and it’s based right here in Hastings.
Coffin Cub Hub is a, “…holistic approach to all things end-of-life,” says Kate T who goes on to explain: “Coffin Club Hub offers a range of support to local people at what is often the most vulnerable time in their life.
“We want to help people make the right choices, it’s all about empowerment, that’s what at its heart – enabling people to take control of how the end-of-their life is managed and celebrated.
“Coffin Club Hub will offer counselling and therapies for the terminally ill, funeral support and support in caring for your dead, through to grief recovery workshops and bereavement support.”
The Kates are funeral celebrants who have an ambition to change the face of funerals in the UK. They are obsessed with educating everyone about the choices they have around their end-of-life celebration and about empowering families to have exactly the send-off they want. Holly is a holistic funeral director, end-of-life doula and care-of-the-body specialist.
Both Kates and Holly are multi-award winners within the funeral industry: Holly says: “Our vision is for a vibrant community hub, a one-stop shop for everything to do with death and grief recovery.
“We are in the process of securing a venue and have big plans for how that will be used.”
Kate D adds: “We see end-of-life support through doula services, holistic therapies and counselling. Following on from this will be funeral support with a twist – our intention is to allow families to fully engage with the process and take ownership of their end-of-life celebration. We will offer an entirely bespoke service where you can have as little or as much help as you would like. We can even help you if you choose to care for your dead at home and really take ownership of the process – something that can be entirely beneficial in the grieving process.”
“It’s about looking back in order to look forward,” Kate T explains, “Caring for our dead and supporting our bereaved used to be done by the community for the community and we plan to pioneer a nurturing and well-being focused approach to end-of-life and funeral services that acknowledges that this is a journey that can last a whole lifetime.”
Coffin Club Hub will deliver grief recovery services through a variety of workshops and counselling options along with the famous Coffin Club Coffee Mornings which encourage peer-to-peer support and aim to eliminate the social isolation people often feel after a bereavement.
Coffin Club Hub aims to have a focus on improving mental health and well-being for the whole community during what is often the most difficult and vulnerable time in a person’s life. The Hub will provide tailored experiences to all sections of the community: “You can hold a funeral anywhere you like,” Kate T says “and in using our ceremony space you’ll be free to take your time over saying goodbye and can stay and have your do there, too, so that the day has a gentle flow to it, rather than the current stop/start nature of going from one place for the service to somewhere else for the bun fight.”
“We have our mortuary equipment and vehicle at the ready,” says Holly, “and a fantastic venue lined up and we’ve been working really hard to launch our crowdfunding appeal, which we hope will raise enough money to convert our premises into a state-of-the art venue complete with treatment rooms, a room for families to care for their dead and an on-site ceremony room.”
Coffin Club is already regarded as a trailblazer within the funeral industry and the Kates see adding a practical support arm to the educational platform making Coffin Club Hub a model for best practise: “Hastings is the perfect place for the Coffin Club Hub. It’s full of amazing, talented, creative people. It’s open to seeing things in new ways and is a town full of entrepreneurial spirit. Kate D is Hastings born and bred, I’ve lived here for over 20 years and Holly is already planning to move here, so we feel that not only are we doing something for this community, but we are part of it, too,” says Kate T.
“Coffin Club has been an absolute labour of love for the past three years and we’re incredibly excited about taking it up to the next level through offering holistic and practical support,” Kate D adds.
“We love what we do. We are passionate about it. We really want to support families in Hastings and beyond to have the best experience they can have at what is a really difficult time in their lives,” says Holly.
“Our own experience shows that the more involved families are in the funeral the better the outcome and even getting people talking about death means a healthier outcome for them and their families in the final instance,” Kate D adds.
“It’s a funeral revolution,” Kate T says, “and where better to start a revolution than Hastings?”
If you would like to support this amazing local initiative go to
Contact Kate, Kate and Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the website https://coffinclub.co.uk/