Garden House Hospice Care’s compassionate neighbours out in force

PUBLISHED: 12:03 21 July 2018

Paul volunteered as a compassionate neighbour and was introduced to Alan. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

Paul volunteered as a compassionate neighbour and was introduced to Alan. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

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Letchworth-based Garden House Hospice Care has recruited and graduated 26 volunteers as Compassionate Neighbours, a scheme set up earlier this year to support those with life-limiting illnesses or experiencing social isolation.

Paul volunteered as a compassionate neighbour and was introduced to Alan. Picture: Garden House Hospice CarePaul volunteered as a compassionate neighbour and was introduced to Alan. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

The compassionate neighbours project is a community-led movement which helps inspire people to build friendships. The hospice is now in the process of matching its second cohort of volunteers with community members in need.

Project manager Jeanette Farrow said: “We know there is a need for Compassionate Neighbours within the community as many people suffer from loneliness.

“I’m extremely passionate about this project because it can make a huge difference to community members who are in a very vulnerable time of their lives and often become depressed and socially isolated.

“Anyone can refer someone, or themselves, as a community member and if suitable they will be visited by myself initially.

“The criteria will be a life limiting condition, which could include frailty, and/or lonely and socially isolated.

“I will then match them with one of our compassionate neighbours, who will build a relationship with the community member and support the person to become reintegrated back into their community – or just sit by their side and share a cup of tea and a story or two.”

A community member, Alan, said: “The service has helped me a lot. I was sitting in my bungalow doing nothing and now I have something to look forward to.

“Paul is 100 per cent my compassionate neighbour, he takes me shopping and we have coffee together.”

Alan’s compassionate neighbour, Paul, said: “It means the world to me to help someone else who is going through a difficult time and make them feel better about themselves and a whole lot happier.

“The project has helped to change the way I feel about life and I now look at others and see how I can help.

“It cheers me up. I lost my wife last year and this project has given me a purpose and I know she would be proud of me.”

Anyone interested in becoming a compassionate neighbour, or if you know a community member who could benefit from having the support offered through this service, contact Jeanette.Farrow@ghhospicecare.org.uk.

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