No Barriers Here is a co-produced, equity-orientated, arts-based approach to advance care planning (ACP) for people and communities who experience inequity accessing palliative and end of life care. No Barriers Here was originally developed in 2019 by The Mary Stevens Hospice, Dudley Voices for Choice and an Arts Psychotherapist. Since then, it has been adapted and used with other people and communities, including a current study working in co-production with people who may be excluded due to identity, culture, ethnicity and race.  

The Mary Stevens Hospice developed a No Barriers Here facilitator training programme which was launched in March 2022, and through attending this over the summer I was provided with the resources to facilitate No Barriers Here workshops to groups of 6 people.

After my training session, Gemma Allen, No Barriers Here Lead at The Mary Stevens Hospice, said:

“We were delighted to welcome Rachel and MacIntyre to the facilitator training programme on behalf of the Dying to Talk Project. No Barriers Here offers an accessible and inclusive way to navigate early advance care planning conversations, and it is exciting to see our workshops being delivered across different localities in the UK.”

The Dying to Talk Project: Creative approaches and collaboration

MacIntyre’s Dying to Talk Project is all about finding creative ways to approach the subject of death and dying. We want people living with a learning disability, their families and staff teams to feel more confident talking about death and dying, and to normalise these discussions with the aim of making advanced care planning easier to navigate.

A key group that we collaborate with are MacIntyre’s i4t (Inspired for Training), who I’ve known since 2018 in my previous role as a Learning Support Worker. Prior to my No Barriers Here workshops with i4t, I’d already worked with the group to explore their thoughts and feelings about death and dying, and I have been working with i4t members to complete their My Plan for Before I Die and My Plan for After I Die.

i4t have also helped to create resources for the Dying to Talk Project, and joined us on the Dying to Talk Project film to raise awareness of our work.

My No Barriers Here workshops with i4t

The No Barriers Here approach allowed the i4t group to explore through art what was important to them. Creating artwork allowed the participants to think more deeply about death, and gave us a creative platform for ideas and wished to be shared and heard.

Lisa from i4t explained that being outdoors was important to her because it brought back memories of walking with her dad in the Peak District. Lisa discussed in length how she wants to be cremated and her ashes scattered over the Manifold Valley. I asked her if she had discussed this with anyone and she said:

“No. They know I want to be cremated but that’s all my staff at home have asked me.”

Another member of the group explained who they wanted to be with them when they died. It was not his family as expected. He said:

“I want Paul there at the end because he knows me. He’s my staff and my friend.”

My thanks go to i4t for embracing our Dying to Talk Project work, and I look forward to continuing to use the No Barriers Here approach with i4t and other groups across MacIntyre.

Find out more about No Barriers Here

For more information about No Barriers Here facilitator training please contact: [javascript protected email address]

Follow No Barriers Here on Twitter @NoBarriersHere

Watch No Barriers Here films

Find out more about the Dying to Talk Project

For more information about the Dying to Talk Project please visit or contact us using the form below