This has been an exciting and incredibly busy year for Friends at the End, our first year operating as a SCIO! After 20 years as a voluntary society, we received our charitable status in November 2018. This wouldn’t have been possible without all of our trustees, staff, members and supporters – we are very grateful for your support.
Here is a roundup of some of the things we did during 2019:
We continued our sponsorship of the Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices in the Scottish Parliament by providing the secretariat for the meetings and arranging events/speakers. We had many interesting speakers including Community Pharmacy Scotland; Professor Ben Colburn, a political philosopher from Glasgow University; Dr Ellen Wiebe, an assisted dying provider from Canada and Cambridge academic, Dr Mehrunisha Suleman, also joined us to present a talk on her research into Muslim perspectives on end of life care.
Phil Newby Case
In July we financially supported a new legal challenge, launched by Phil Newby, to change assisted dying laws for those with long-term degenerative conditions. In November Phil lost his case in the High Court but we will continue to support Phil and his legal team. You can find out more about the case here.
We continued to grow our membership during the year. Thank you to all our new and current members for supporting the organisation. During 2020 and beyond we hope to grow and expand our membership, as well as local group meetings.
You can find out about becoming a member here.
A popular feature of our work involves workshops concerning issues like welfare, powers of attorney, advance directives and anticipatory care plans. At our AGM Professor Celia Kitzinger of Advance Decisions Assistance (ADA) ran an Advance Directive workshop. Participants were able to draft or update their advance directives and had the opportunity to consider how they wish to manage their own end of life with professional support on hand.
Professor Jocelyn Downie: Law in Canada
We hosted a lunch and talk in November with Professor Jocelyn Downie, at the Scottish Parliament. Following the successful change in law in Canada, Professor Downie reached out to us. She holds the James Palmer Chair in Public Policy and Law at Dalhousie University; she is also the author of numerous studies on end of life law and policy.
These are just some of the events and work that we have done this year and we have another busy year planned for 2020. There’s a pastoral care conference scheduled; hosting the RTD Europe meeting in June and more work with the Cross-Party Group and MSPs. We are also lucky to have great working relationships with our partners Dignity in Dying and Humanist Society Scotland and look forward to working with them in 2020 on prospects for a new Bill. We will also be thinking about how we can better support our members, so we hope to have your continued support in the new year.
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You can also make a donation to Friends at the End, helping us to continue our work and bring about a change in the law. More information is available here.