Our story so far

Compassionate Neighbours was inspired by the concept of Compassionate Communities in Kerala, India. It was introduced to the UK to replicate a similar programme to the one in Kerala which is underpinned by public health principles – by emphasising the importance of collective responsibility of society and community, and promoting and protecting the health and well-being of all community members, including those who are dying.

The Compassionate Neighbours programme has since been adopted by a growing number of UK hospices.  The various projects have undergone a number of research studies over time that show clearly the impact is significant for the Community Member, but also the Compassionate Neighbour.  Both people feel more connected to their community, feel less socially isolated and this has a big impact on their health and wellbeing.

For hospices, Compassionate Neighbours is a great way to engage with sections of local communities that hospices traditionally have not always connected.  Compassionate Neighbours is a way for hospices to become more inclusive and diverse with local people and volunteers.  It also enables hospices to test different approaches to volunteering without destabilising the more traditional volunteering roles that hospices rely on – and hospices report applying their learning from the Compassionate Neighbours project and approach to training to other areas of volunteering.  Hospices also report that the Compassionate Neighbours project can open doors to engaging with other organisations and communities, and to new sources of funding.

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.



hospices involved


CNs trained


matches made

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. ”