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Compassionate Neighbours project seeks referrals

Compassionate Neighbours, a volunteer-led programme being delivered by St Clare Hospice, is looking to support more socially isolated people in West Essex and East
Hertfordshire

Pam, from Harlow, was referred to the Compassionate Neighbours scheme because she was experiencing complex health needs and was socially isolated after the death of her husband Del in
September 2018. Following an initial assessment Compassionate Neighbour Sylvy, also from Harlow, was matched with Pam; the match is based on things in common and as Sylvy’s husband had also recently died, it quickly because apparent that their bereavement was a key thing they had in common. Sylvy started visiting Pam on a weekly basis. “We just clicked straight away,” said Sylvy. “We both lost our husbands last year and I know that we can talk about them together and it’s ok just to talk.”

Pam admits that she was feeling lonely, as she had little by way of a support network; her sister in law used to visit every other week – and she has her 9 year old dog Jesse for company – but she didn’t get out or see anyone else. “I was feeling really down before I met Sylvy. Sylvy is my Compassionate Neighbour, but she’s also my friend. The Compassionate Neighbours is a marvellous
scheme, bringing friendship into people’s lives.”

The Compassionate Neighbours scheme is currently supporting more than 100 people who are socially isolated and frail, or at the end of their life. During the Coronavirus pandemic this support
moved from being weekly visits to telephone support. During this time, the Compassionate Neighbour manager at St Clare Hospice, Stacey Towler, has been training more compassionate
neighbours, with a revised digitally delivered training programme, and there are now 135 trained Compassionate Neighbours.

Due to Stacey’s successful recruitment and training programme, she is now seeking referrals for Community Members – people who are socially isolated and moderately frail or have a life limiting
illness – who might benefit from companionship and friendship in their life. Stacey has recorded an explanatory film to introduce the project, describe the support offered and encourage referrals.
If you are working with anyone who might benefit from the project, and would like to refer them, please contact: Stacey.towler@stclarehospice.org.uk or visit: stclarehospice.org.uk/compassionateneighbours

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