Compassionate Cymru’s Journey

First and foremost we are people like you.

We are a collaboration of individuals and organisations committed to improving and supporting everyone’s experience of end of life care and bereavement in Wales.
We have evolved from Byw Nawr which reflected Dying Matters’ concerns with generating a national conversation about how we can live well and make preparations in advance for the end of life. Byw Nawr’s achievements include:

  • Establishing Dying Matters week in Wales as a way of initiating conversation around death & dying
  • Supporting the Advance Future Care Planning work
  • Raising awareness of the importance of planning early for dying and the need to share thoughts and feelings with friends and family

Since 2020, the Byw Nawr Steering Group has formally transitioned into the Compassionate Cymru Steering Group.

In 2018, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Health and Social Services set out his aspirations for Wales to become the world’s first ‘compassionate country’. Since then work has been ongoing to spread the compassionate approach throughout Wales. This has led to the production of a Compassionate Cymru Charter.

The Charter provides the framework within which our compassionate nation approach is being developed and delivered in Wales and outlines a programme of social and practical actions across a range of domains and ministerial portfolios.

However, making Wales a compassionate country is much more than implementing a Charter. It’s about embedding a compassionate approach in all our workplaces, our schools, our places of worship, our prisons and supporting our communities to become more resilient to be able to cope with the challenges that life brings.

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As we work to take forward Compassionate Cymru we are taking the theme of ‘What matters most to you?’ to help to organise our work and connections. We know people and organisations who are already providing support or want to help and support those in their community will not all want or be able to help in the same way.

We also know that those who need support will not all want or need support in the same ways at the same times and we want to match up these two repertoires of resources and needs so that we make the very best connections in our communities.

We think that people are often unaware of the fact that a compassionate community can include the simplest everyday tasks like taking a dog for a walk or providing a meal and can also grow to encompass planning with government agencies, third sector organisations to co-ordinate and support better experiences of dying.

More than 80% of care that most people who are at the end of their lives experience is provided by family, friends and informal carers. This gives us great scope for improving that care and co-ordinating it with the proportion provided by formal services.