Compassionate Neighbours is an award winning, St Joseph’s Hospice project, which provides community-led support for anyone who is living with a long term or terminal illness, is elderly or frail, socially isolated or nearing the end of life through age or illness.
Compassionate Neighbours was inspired by the concept of Compassionate Communities. It was introduced to the hospice around 10 years ago to replicate a similar programme in Kerala, India, known as the Palliative Care Network. It is underpinned by public health principles, to promote and protect health and well-being through the organised efforts of society, emphasising the collective responsibility of society and community.
Compassionate Neighbours is a growing movement of people who support each other to promote compassion in their communities. They provide social and emotional support to people who have a life limiting illness and are experiencing loneliness or social isolation by:
- visiting regularly
- offering friendship, emotional support and a listening ear
- helping them to do the things they like doing
- helping them stay connected to the community as well as family and friends
They may also become ambassadors, coaches, peer evaluators and the movers and shakers of the Compassionate Neighbour movement.
If you would like to become a Compassionate Neighbour or refer yourself or someone you know to be matched with a compassionate neighbour please click check our ‘where’ section. If we cover your area we will provide contact details.
The project was developed by St Joseph’s Hospice. In collaboration with St Christopher’s Hospice and with the help of Nesta funding it is being rolled out to 7 other hospices across London and the surburbs. Each hospice is at a different stage in development but by the end of 2018 we will have over 750 Compassionate Neighbours. We are now moving into the next phase of our upscale and working with new adopters in the South East area.
Compassionate Neighbours are the key stakeholders in the project, it belongs to them and they are guiding the project and how it develops.
The role of hospices is to support and enable people to become Compassionate Neighbours in their community. We help them harness their skills and experience to provide social and emotional support to people in their community, helping them live life to the full for as long as they can.
Hospices receive referrals for people in the community who would like a Compassionate Neighbour who are then matched with someone who shares similar interests.
Compassionate Neighbours are the key stakeholders but the project belongs to everyone who is involved; community members and professionals working in the hospices and beyond who jointly shape and guide the project and link with other local projects.
We are keen that the project grows and develops as a social movement, connecting with individuals and communities who have traditionally not accessed hospice services because of barriers of language, culture or lifestyle.