The value of Princess Alice Hospice Compassionate Neighbours during lockdown

Categories: Care and Community Engagement.
Just as the country went into a national lockdown, John Jemmett’s wife Ruth died in March 2020. During the weeks and months that followed, he found that friends slowly started to distance themselves from him and he was left with almost nobody he could freely talk to about Ruth.

It was Compassionate Neighbour Co-ordinator at Princess Alice Hospice, Alison Kilby, who first suggested to John that he be matched with someone who could support him through this difficult time.

Princess Alice Hospice Compassionate Neighbours are trained volunteers who offer friendship, a listening ear and regular emotional and social support to people in their local community; people who are lonely or socially isolated due to the effects of their own or a loved one’s long term or life limiting illness.

John was matched with Robin who phoned John weekly to chat about anything and everything.

John quickly learned that Robin was a good listener and understood his situation. He could talk to Robin freely about Ruth and this reduced the stress he felt. They also shared a love of football which led to a regular swapping of notes on their teams.

What started off as a weekly phone call, due to COVID restrictions, soon progressed to regular Zoom sessions and these gave John something to look forward to. In John’s words: ‘a reason to get up, get washed and get a proper shirt on’.

He also added: “I would whole heartedly recommend the service even for a short time to get over the initial months of bereavement.”

Since March 2020, Princess Alice Hospice has recruited 130 Compassionate Neighbour Lite (CNL) volunteers from diverse backgrounds to provide telephone support, medication collection and shopping support during the successive pandemic surges and associated lock-downs.

If you, or somebody you know, could benefit from the support of a Hospice Compassionate Neighbour, please visit



Princess Alice Hospice:

For Compassion. For Excellence. For People. For Living.

Princess Alice Hospice has, for more than 30 years, provided free, high-quality, specialist end of life care to tens of thousands of people across a large part of Surrey, south west London and Middlesex. Today, at any one time, Hospice nurses, doctors and other specialist staff are looking after more than 800 people in need.  The Hospice’s mission is to reach out to even more people by delivering outstanding care to those that need it. To enable us to do this, we will rely on the commitment and support of our communities who help us to raise vital funds.

£10.1 million is needed each year to provide these vital and much-needed services. With limited NHS funding, 76% must be generated by fundraising, retail operations, donations and legacies. | |

Princess Alice Hospice is a registered charity no. 1010930 and a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales no. 1599796.
Registered office: West End Lane, Esher, Surrey KT10 8NA


photo is of ‘John in his away kit’.


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