As we come to the end of the Nesta funded roll out compassionate neighbours and staff from across the eight hospices involved so far came together last month to celebrate what has been achieved over the last 18 months, reflect on learning and plan for the future. Once again, we heard about the difference this project makes and experienced the power of working together across Compassionate Neighbour projects. One compassionate neighbour wrote this fabulous poem on the day which we think sums the programme up.

Compassionate Neighbours a look to tomorrow,

battling with loneliness, heartbreak and sorrow;

like a fresh spring shower with little drops of rain

we reach out to our members easing their pain;

growing up and out like a beautiful flower

our community project is loaded with power;

spreading out to our members in the darkest of place,

happy smiling neighbours bursting with grace;

building new friendships, breaking open the cage,

supporting our members through illness and age.

Compassionate Neighbours we’re here to stay,

through the next decade, starting today….

Daniel Greenman, 21/3/19

Everyone wrote down memories of the project that they pinned to a washing line. This gave us many stories that warmed our hearts.

‘The wife of someone referred to Compassionate Neighbours shed tears of happiness, she thought after his injuries he might not live let alone go out for a coffee with a new friend’ – compassionate neighbour

‘The training itself was such fun, so thought provoking, wonderful people. It really made me feel alive again.’ compassionate neighbour

I introduced two people who I thought initially didn’t get on…… but they have made plans to do activities together and even a trip to the seaside in the summer, it showed me the compassion two seemingly different people can have for each other and the value and importance of human connection. It was natural, spontaneous and beautiful’ project manager

‘Connecting 3 community members who found commonalities in their experiences of their conditions…. they shared and laughed and have since met up in the local pub’ project manager

So we enter a new chapter for Compassionate Neighbours and look forward to welcoming a couple of hospices from the South East who will be shortly joining the network.