Hospices and libraries: working together to support the community

Categories: Community Engagement.

A hospice in Wolverhampton has formed a partnership with a local library to deliver much needed bereavement support to the community.

Compton Care began working with South Staffordshire libraries last summer as part of the Compassionate Communities initiative, which aims to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing by encouraging people in the community to support one another.

The collaboration came about after research by Compton Care highlighted a lack of bereavement support in the region – not only for those dealing with the death of a loved one after a terminal illness, but for anyone dealing with grief.

As a result they launched a community hub at Perton Library for those affected by grief to access support. The monthly sessions began in July 2018 and have an average attendance of 24 people. Marianne Grant, Partnership Development Manager at Compton Care, explains further:

“The Bereavement Information Hub offers people from Perton and the surrounding communities the opportunity to access valuable information, support and companionship for those affected by loss and grief.

“The library setting is recognised as a safe, friendly and welcoming environment for people to attend and find out more about what is on offer in their community and to meet others who have first-hand experience of the grief of losing a loved one.

“The hubs are supported by volunteers, many of whom have experienced grief themselves and who are able to share their experiences with those who are newly bereaved.”

One visitor explained how she was benefitting from the hub:

“It has helped me feel a connection with others who have been through similar situations and it has helped me to realise what I am feeling is normal”.

The collaboration has also proved beneficial to both the hospice and the library, as Marianne explains:

“Compton Care benefits significantly from the partnership working with the library, enabling us to have greater community engagement but also ensuring that our volunteers and staff are able to deliver much-needed information and support to people at a local level.

“It has also benefited Staffordshire Library and Arts Service to deliver on some of their strategic outcomes for Staffordshire, such as being healthier and more independent; feeling safer, happier and more supported in and by communities; creating resilient communities – supporting those in need to help themselves and as part of the Libraries Connected Universal Health Offer.”

The hubs have been so successful there are plans to add an additional evening session for those who have commitments during the day. There are also plans to open another hub elsewhere in South Staffordshire in the spring.

“We have seen very few challenges in setting up the hub, however we recognise that due to pressures on statutory health services and an increase of mental health issues, there is a need for community hubs like this to help bridge the gap between loneliness and clinical support” Marianne says.

“Transportation in a rural area such as South Staffordshire can often be challenging. The village of Perton is some distance from neighbouring villages and often can only be accessible by car or a long journey on public transport.  By creating additional hubs this will widen the offer but also support the growth of creating more Compassionate Communities.”

For more information visit Bereavement Information Hub – Perton