Three hospices launch project to tackle loneliness

Categories: Community Engagement.

St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood, Isabel Hospice covering eastern Hertfordshire and Garden House Hospice Care in Letchworth, are each launching a volunteer community project called Compassionate Neighbours.

Compassionate Neighbours is an award winning, community-led project for people living with a life-limiting condition, or who are experiencing loneliness or social isolation. The project was founded by St Joseph’s Hospice in East London in 2011 and received national recognition when it won the Charity Times Community Award last year.

Outlining the Compassionate Neighbours Project, a joint statement from all three hospices said:

“All three hospices know that a lot of people living with a life-limiting illness become socially isolated, and that there are people facing death and dying on their own in our communities. We also know that there is a desire in our communities to be there for one another, and Compassionate Neighbours is about unlocking and enabling this to happen.

“Compassionate Neighbours is a network of trained volunteers who offer their time and support to people living in their local area. They offer friendship and a listening ear, and help them to continue to do the things they enjoy. We carefully match the Compassionate Neighbours with members of the community, so that they are suited to each other based on their interests and hobbies.”

The three hospices serve a population of over 800,000 people across West Essex and Hertfordshire and are all part of the same NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

The Chief Officer of the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP, Debbie Fielding, welcomed the launch of the Compassionate Neighbours project in this area:

“We are delighted that three of our local hospices are coming together to establish this innovative community-led project in our region. It is vital that we work together to tackle loneliness and social isolation in our communities, and find new ways to support people at the end of their lives.

“We know that very often older people and those who feel isolated would benefit considerably from a simple of cup of tea and a chat. The fact that Compassionate Neighbours pairs community members based on their shared likes and interests, means that the support will be even more meaningful and have a positive impact on people’s well-being.”

To find out more about the Compassionate Neighbours project contact the following Compassionate Neighbours Project Managers:

West Essex: Stacey Towler or 01279 773279

East Herts: Christine Novelli or 01707 382500

North Herts: Jeanette Farrow or 01462 679540

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