Vitoria-Gasteiz has recently become a Compassionate City. The Compassionate Communities movement is growing across the Basque country with a wide interest in the Compassionate Neighbours model. Carly Attridge, Programme Lead at St Joseph’s recently spent an exciting three days supporting Vivir Con Voz Propia with the beginnings of their social isolation and end of life project as well as delivering two sessions for local people. She describes how it went below:

A fantastic 45 people came to hear more about what we do and the model we deliver. A mixture of local professionals, the local community attended came together alongside professionals from other areas delivering compassionate communities work in the region. We had a rich conversation (all in Spanish- we got there in the end!) about the project, and the enthusiasm and vision for what could be possible with “Vecinos Compasivos” in the Basque Country grew.

On the second day, a more practical session with 18 people took place. We spent some time doing some of Compassionate Neighbours training activities and then had some exciting visioning of what a “Vecinos Compasivos” could look like in Vitoria. Both sessions were very well received, with comments from attendees including:

“It was like a fire was starting in the room, it was great to see some new faces, all excited about compassionate neighbours and starting this work in our area”.

“This was my first time meeting these people, many who live really close to me. It was a great way to make connections in my barrio (community) and I’m looking forward to what happens next”.

These were our first steps to formalising a partnership and considering how we can best work together in the future. There are opportunities to learn from each other, and to support organisations who are interested in rolling out the model. We are now looking to plan further development and support in 2019, and are interested in funding models to support this. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in Vitoria-Gasteiz and Vivir Con Voz Propia would be interested to hear from any other groups in the Basque Country interested in Vecinos Compasivos.