365 Days of a GroundSwell




The GroundSwell Project AGM was held on November 19th 2013 and it is with great pleasure that we present to you our Annual Report for the 2012-13 financial year.

Many thanks to all of you, here in Australia and from across the globe, for supporting our work and cheering us on. It keeps on being said, but death does seem to be having a moment, and we are delighted that the GroundSwell Project is making a significant contribution to this conversation here in Australia.

Highlights in 2012-13 include:

  • FilmLife Project is creating vital awareness about organ and tissue donation in the Australian community by using film, blogging and social media. Now in our second year check out the films here.
  • Our annual Drama project at Penrith High School and the upcoming documentary by Jordan Bryon about the learning that occurs when young people tackle the topic of "living with mortality" and share their observations on the stage.
  • The opportunity to work with many  fabulous organisations a few include DonateLife, Nepean Intensive Care Unit, Information and Cultural Exchange, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Penrith High School, and Rookwood Cemetery.
  • Presenting a workshop about our work at the 3rd International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference in Ireland in April.
  • our launch of Dying To Know Day! A day all Australians can take action toward more open and honest conversations about death, dying and bereavement.

What a year!

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that The GroundSwell Project is a registered health promotion charity. We need your support to grow and develop, so please consider a tax deductible donation via the fundraising platform GiveNow. You can make a one off or regular donation.

And finally, with the holiday season coming, one of the most precious gifts you can give your family is to share your end-of-life wishes. Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you have a Will?  An advance care directive? Whatever the topic, we would encourage you to start-up that conversation today.

See you in the new year,

Warm Regards

Kerrie Noonan, CoFounder and Chair on behalf of the The GroundSwell Project Board


More inspiration?

Looking for more inspiration after the Dying for Change event with Charles Leadbeater yesterday? Here is the video interview with Heather Richardson talking about her experience in the UK (please try to ignore the poor use of technology here - I hadn't upgraded the demo version of this app for Skype! *so embarrassing*)

here are a couple of quotes: "since I have begun to do this kind of thinking, I have seen Hospice care far less at the center and more on periphery facilitating and working with others to make a difference at end of life."

"I began to believe that good end-of-life care was dependent on professionals getting it right, and what Charlie helped me and many others in the sector see is that actually we needed to partner quite differently with the general public..."

"part of the work I've been doing in the last couple of year how we take some of the philosophy and principles of our work, empower other people to deliver care in a similar kind of way but not everybody has to be linked into the hospice or be one of our patients... so we now have networks of volunteers who are starting to deliver care on our behalf... but they are not hospice volunteers they are just members of the local public who are interested in looking after others in their local community who are dying... they can refer or navigate people towards the hospice if they get a problem they can't deal with..."


2010 wrap-up

Dear GroundSwell Friends, In April this year we “officially” began The GroundSwell Project Inc.

The idea for GroundSwell had germinated for more than a year after a couple of serious doses of inspiration from the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Calicut, India, and a serendipitous meeting between Kerrie Noonan and Peta Murray in late 2009. Then, earlier this year, and with support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Sydney, things started getting serious…

The GroundSwell Project was born through combining our interests in both the Arts and Health. It grows from our recognition that the arts enable people of all ages to have conversations about death, dying and bereavement and can also promote social inclusion and inter-generational relationships. In short, the arts enable people to flourish, life-long. Through the arts we may not only define and celebrate all aspects of our lives, but gain access to a universal language through which to speak of our values, our beliefs and the very essence of who we are.

The GroundSwell Project mission, then, is to use the Arts to promote resilience and community well-being at the end-of-life, and through bereavement.

Our highlights this year have been many:

Incorporation as a Not-for-Profit, and subsequent endorsement for DGR and TCC status

Our High School Drama Project:  Bringing together people with Motor Neurone Disease and Year 11 students.

Two organisations supported us with encouragement and people power – The Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW and Penrith High School, with their dynamic drama teacher Nic Bonfield.

Modelled on a collaboration between the Brit School and St Christopher’s Hospice in the UK, we had 25 participants engaged in this project. Over 50 family and friends attended the final performance. The project was featured in the local paper with a beautiful photo essay. Then in November the project was recognised by the Arts and Health community with a national award for excellence in the Arts and Health in Palliative Care.

The Festival of Remembrance: Western Sydney and Alice Springs

Bringing together all of the elements of a traditional memorial service, and with the input of local artists, the Festival creates a structure within which people participate in creative arts processes to express grief in the context of community.

This year the Festival collaborated with Holy Family in Emerton and over 70 people of all ages participated.

Niki Read also conducted a small ceremony in Alice Springs. We are looking to continue to expand our work in Alice while Niki is living there.

A Volunteer Grant secured from FaHCSIA

This enabled us to purchase equipment for our planned digital story-telling projects and to enable blogging and participant video-making projects to come.

Our first major investors

We are grateful to Penrith Therapy Centre and to Artist, Jude Simes, whose family and community generously contributed and donated after Jude decided to auction her artwork for charity and chose GroundSwell as her beneficiary.

These contributions will enable GroundSwell to expand our programs in 2011.

Developing our networks and Board

At the same time we finished our business plan, adopted our own logo, and put energy into consolidating and planning for the next 3 years. Thanks to the Board  and those who have supported GroundSwell in starting up: Niki Read, Debbie Horsfall, Tim Oakley, Trudy Hanson, Paula Hanson, Melanie Greblo, Vanessa Liell, John Carrigan and Andy Horsfall.

Developing our artistic networks

With Peta leading as our creative consultant we now have an existing network of artists to call upon, and this will inevitably continue to grow.

We expect 2011 to be a busy year here at GroundSwell, with new projects and partnerships already in train.

For instance, Hidden is a sculpture exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery entering its third year. In 2011 GroundSwell will work in partnership with the Rookwood Anglican Trust to sponsor The GroundSwell Project People’s Choice award. We are also offering two public arts programs around the sculpture exhibition – a writers’ workshop and a school arts’ program.

This is just a taste of what’s to come. We will of course keep blogging, tweeting and the rest so you can engage with GroundSwell and our work. We are also excited to announce that we will be expanding our school projects and festivals, initiating new storytelling projects, and developing our consulting services.

Many people have supported GroundSwell this year. A huge thank you to Stuart Worden from the Brit School in London, Nic Bonfield and the Yr 11 students from Penrith High School, Gina Svolos and Jenny Judd and everyone from MND NSW especially Margaret, Barbara, Wal, Trish and John, Jane Murphy for technical and graphic design support, Benny, Courtney, Amy, Janine, Rosemary and everyone at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Sydney for supporting GroundSwell, Jude Simes, Paul Simes and all the amazing supporters from Jude's community and family, Jessica and Roger from Iris Pictures, Kate Maguire, Kristina Dodds,  Jody Thomson, Peter Hall, Cassandra Hard Lawrie, Fr Edward Dooley and the Holy Family Community, Amanda Lomas, Michael Maxwell, and Margret Meagher.

We look forward to your continuing support and to keeping you informed as we go.

This work is our passion, and we plan on having a great time along the way...

See you in 2011!


Kerrie Noonan and Peta Murray

1000 students for Palliative Care

Here is video of a meeting of Student leaders in Palliative Care aged 18-22. They are organising an event on the 20th of February 2010 where they are expecting up to a 1000 students to attend. I can't even imagine what it would take to bring together a 1000 people in Australia! It will be the first time in the world this many students (people??) have come together to learn about palliative care and how they can contribute in their local communities as volunteers! It is staggering.

I really enjoyed sitting and watching the group - their closeness and respect for each other.

How is it they so successful in mobilising the community to palliative care? Is there anything from this experience that Australia learn from these students and the volunteer programs in Kerala? I have a 1000 questions...