Better Endings

Most of what we most value in life - love, friendship, recognition, care - comes from relationships... People die well when they are supported by relationships with people who care for them and provide their lives with a sense of meaning

Jake Garber and Charles Leadbeater, Dying for Change 2010

Everybody deserves great support for themselves and for their families at the end of life. We know that at the moment this doesn't always happen.

This year, Innovation Unit is leading a year long project to design, develop and test innovative new solutions for end of life care in Lambeth and Southwark. The project is being supported by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.

We are bringing together a diverse group to think and work collectively to improve people's experiences around the end of life. This includes providers, commissioners, community organisations and people with direct experience of being supported or needing support at end of life.

We want to understand what dying well means for people living in Lambeth and Southwark, and what support is needed to facilitate this. By speaking to people in the boroughs about their experiences of death, dying and end of life care, we want to bring new rich insight to the way in which people are supported through this stage of life.

We're excited about bringing together the wealth of experience of families and professionals, the new energy, ideas and capacity of the community, and our deep understanding of innovation and service design processes. Together, we believe great things will happen.

What's different about Better Endings?

We are not starting with a blank page. Better Endings is learning from and building on the best of provision and practice in the UK and internationally and is inspired by radically different ways of thinking about death and dying and supporting people at this time.

But we are doing some things differently. We are:

  1. Generating new insights and perspectives: We start with a fresh look at people and their experiences in Southwark and Lambeth. We keep this front and centre, while drawing on a wider range of evidence on the problem and the opportunity.
  2. Mobilising new contributions: We will create a much-needed space for a diverse group of people to work together in a different way. Leaders from health and social care will work alongside a much wider group of people who have ideas for doing things differently and better for people.
  3. Designing new solutions: We will follow a tried and tested design-led innovation methodology and facilitate a process that enables the group to develop new insights and perspectives into ideas and service concepts that can be tested on the ground.

During 2017, we aim to prototype 3-6 new solutions for end of life care and support in Southwark and Lambeth.

Though this work is based in South East London, we expect that the new solutions we develop and what we learn through this programme will have much-wider interest.

Get involved in Better Endings

We all have a stake, and play a role, in great end of life care. We want to go on this exploratory design-led process together.

  • Share your story: Do you have an experience of end of life care in Southwark and Lambeth that you'd be happy to share with us? We want to understand the full range of experiences and would love to hear from people seeking support at end of life, as well as from friends or family, carers or people who are recently bereaved.
  • Partner with us: Are you and/ or your organisation really excited about the work of Better Endings? Join us on the project, supporting our research and participating in our workshops.
  • Join our Development Group: Do you want to share your ideas and expertise as we design new solutions? Join our workshops as we discuss and prototype together.
  • Be part of our Community of Interest: Keen to follow our journey? Stay in touch and keep up-to-date via social media. Follow us on Twitter, share your ideas and practice and advocate for Better Endings in your networks.

If you are keen to be involved or want to talk more about Better Endings, please contact us on or 020 7250 8098.

About Innovation Unit

Innovation Unit is a not for profit social enterprise. We create new solutions that enable more people to belong and contribute to thriving societies. We develop alliances for change with places, organizations and systems, to ensure that innovation has lasting impact at scale.

About Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity is a catalyst for health and healthcare improvement in Lambeth and Southwark. We support innovation in order to create world-leading healthcare in Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust; to improve the physical and mental health of the local population; and to fulfill the vision of King's Health partners.