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Community Grants For ‘To Absent Friends’ Festival

Grants scheme to help community groups to remember their Absent Friends

To Absent Friends, the people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance, returns in November, and organisations from across Scotland are being invited to take part, with the help of a small grants scheme.

The festival, started in 2014, gives people across Scotland the opportunity to remember loved ones who have died, through stories, celebrations and acts of reminiscence. November has long been associated with remembrance of the dead, through traditions like Samhain and All Souls’ Day. To Absent Friends is reviving those lost traditions and helping to create new ones. In previous years, the festival has featured storytelling evenings, poetry nights, photography exhibitions, concerts, scrapbooking workshops, cafes of reminiscence, and hundreds of private acts of remembrance, but all ideas are welcome. The more creative, the better!

Organisations can apply for grants of up to £250 to hold an event as part of the festival. The festival is particularly keen to help small, local organisations to create public opportunities for storytelling and remembrance of people who have died. Full details of how to apply are available on the festival website,, which also has many more suggestions for ways in which people can participate. The deadline for applications is Friday 24 August.

“To Absent Friends has really captured people’s imaginations since we started it in 2014,” says Robert Peacock of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, the alliance of organisations behind the festival. “There have been some very poignant and moving events, as well as many lighter moments shared. Just because someone has died doesn’t mean they are not a part of our lives any more. They are there in our stories and memories. The festival gives people time and space to remember those people – whether it’s just raising a glass, or something more formal. In this day and age, we don’t often stop and do that.”

To Absent Friends will take place across Scotland from 1 – 7 November 2018. For further information contact Robert Peacock on or 0131 272 2735.

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