Compassionate communities start with good neighbours

The Compassionate Neighbours programme aims to tackle the loneliness and social isolation that many people who are nearing the end of life experience. This might be due to age,illness or bereavement.

The programme trains local people to become volunteer Compassionate Neighbours, empowering them to support people in their communities (‘Community Members’) who would benefit from friendship and companionship.

Being a Compassionate Neighbour can take various forms including regular one-to-one visits at home, meeting up in groups or in community hubs. Each project is shaped to suit the needs of local people.

Evidence from the projects shows the significant positive impact on the health and well-being of both Compassionate Neighbours and Community Members.

Did you know?

Many community members felt more connected to their community

Compassionate Neighbours spend 1 hour a week on average with their community member

14 hospices run Compassionate Neighbours schemes across the UK

A significant number of people have been matched through Compassionate Neighbours.

How compassionate
communities are making a difference

Harry, Community member

“Before I had a Compassionate Neighbour, I wasn’t getting out at all. I can’t walk very far and I can’t drive anywhere these days. But Dave has given me confidence, and shown me that I can try different things now, despite my Parkinson’s. ”

Dave, Harry’s Compassionate Neighbour

“I think Compassionate Neighbours is a first class idea, and I can see that if you help take someone out of their loneliness, it can benefit their physical and mental health as well, and help them become a different person. I really commend the project for doing that, and I am proud to be part of it. ”

Compassionate Neighbour, Housing Association

“I get loads out if it! I look forward to it every week – it makes me feel special because everyone is so appreciative of what I do. I leave there really satisfied. Last week I said good morning to Ray who looked grumpy and didn’t respond. When I took my hat off he realised it was me and his face lit up and he joined me for a cup of tea. That felt really good. ”

Steve, Compassionate Neighbour

“I love volunteering as a Compassionate Neighbour as it allows me to give something back to the community. I am able to meet new people while making a difference in whatever way I can, no matter how small. I really enjoy being part of an excellent team of people, being presented with fresh challenges and learning new skills. ”

Compassionate Neighbour

“Becoming a Compassionate Neighbour has filled a void in my life after retiring. I have met some amazing people. So, if you love talking and have great listening skills please join us. I promise, like me, you will definitely receive more than you give. ”

Dave, Compassionate Neighbour

“Being a Compassionate Neighbour is definitely rewarding for me too. I enjoy doing something for someone else on a personal level, and I like knowing that I am helping someone. ”

Agnes, Community Member

“Without the compassionate neighbours project my situation would be bad, I’d sit at home the whole day and not be able to go anywhere no one comes to visit, so there is no-one to talk to you. Before I stayed home alone, no-one talked to me and now Lucia takes me out, I wish she will be with me now and forever. Now I can see sunshine and come out for the fresh air, but before I was inside like a prisoner. ”

Lucia, Agnes’ Compassionate Neighbour

“We are more like family and some of things she says reminds me of my mum. The match is just right, we have formed a great friendship; we have the same sense of humour, the personality, everything. I have met Agnes’ family and some of her friends. Her family now introduce me as part of their family. I’ve seen the change in Agnes, she has become more confident, independent and she’s much happier now and enjoying life. ”

Our network

Our network consists of likeminded hospices across the UK who have partnered together to encourage best practice and sharing of resources. Hospices who join the programme benefit from connecting with local people in their community much earlier than clinical hospice services, and from engaging with a broader, more diverse range of local people.  Compassionate Neighbours can be a great first step for hospices looking to offer volunteer-led social support programmes to complement clinical services.

Whos Involved 2

Who’s involved

14 hospices around the UK are part of the Compassionate Neighbours network. If you’re thinking about how to start community engagement, Compassionate Neighbours is an ideal way to start.

We’re looking for other hospices in the UK to join the programme.

GPs, social prescribers, care homes and housing associations are keen to refer local people to Compassionate Neighbours.

Compassionate Neighbours is a highly attractive volunteer-led social support programme that grant funders and commissioners are keen to support.