Hospice to tackle isolation and loneliness among local people living with a terminal illness

Published: 12 February 2020

Compassionate neighbour launch photo

Heart of Kent Hospice LogoPress release

Hospice to tackle isolation and loneliness among local people living with a terminal illness

Heart of Kent Hospice has launched the first Compassionate Neighbours project in the county in a bid to reduce loneliness and social isolation among people living with a terminal illness.

Compassionate Neighbours is a free, community-led, social movement offering friendship and support for anyone who is lonely, at risk of isolation, and nearing the end of their life through age or illness.

The project works by matching local people in need with a member of their community wishing to offer their companionship. Matching is based on their shared likes, interests and experiences.

Jennie Steer, Compassionate Neighbours Community Engagement Lead explains why the project is so important: “People living with a long-term health condition or terminal illness can often struggle with loneliness and isolation and this negatively affects their physical and emotional wellbeing and can even reduce the time they have left.

“At Heart of Kent Hospice, we are committed to helping people with life-limiting illnesses stay as well and independent as they can for as long as they are able. Compassionate Neighbours help by regularly visiting their matched community members, offering companionship and emotional support, and enabling them do the things they like doing, while also helping them to stay part of the community and keep in touch with family and friends.”

The Hospice will be rolling out Compassionate Neighbours across Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and to all the small towns and villages in its catchment area.

The project is recruiting volunteers who are keen to help tackle loneliness and support their community to join the network of trained Compassionate Neighbours. Volunteers must be aged 18 or over and able to spare a couple of hours each week. More information will be available at the launch but volunteers will be asked to complete an enhanced DBS check and undergo full training provided by the Hospice before they are matched with a community member.

For people wanting to know more about Compassionate Neighbours please email CN@hokh.co.uk or call 01622 792200 ext. 240.