Three hospices to tackle loneliness in Essex and Herts together

Compassionate Neighbours Managers L-R Stacey Towler, Christine Novelli and Jeanette Farrow

A group of three hospice charities are working together to launch a new community-led project aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation across West Essex and East/North Herts.

St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood, Isabel Hospice covering Eastern Hertfordshire and Garden House Hospice Care in Letchworth, are each launching a volunteer community project called Compassionate Neighbours. 

Compassionate Neighbours is an award winning, community-led project for people living with a life-limiting illness, or who are experiencing loneliness or social isolation. The project was founded by St Joseph’s Hospice in East London in 2011 and received national recognition when it won the Charity Times Community Award in 2017.

Outlining the Compassionate Neighbours Project, a joint statement from all three hospices said: “All three hospices know that a lot of people living with a life-limiting illness become socially isolated, and that there are people facing death and dying on their own in our communities. We also know that there is a desire in our communities to be there for one another, and Compassionate Neighbours is about unlocking and enabling this to happen. Compassionate Neighbours is a network of trained volunteers who offer their time and support to people living in their local area. They offer friendship and a listening ear, and help them to continue to do the things they enjoy. We carefully match the Compassionate Neighbours with members of the community, so that they are suited to each other based on their interests and hobbies.”

Compassionate Neighbours projects have now been established in a total of seven hospices, including St Clare Hospice, Isabel Hospice and Garden House Hospice. The three hospices serve a population of over 800,000 people across West Essex and Hertfordshire. The hospices are all part of the same NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which covers Hertfordshire and West Essex. 

The Chief Officer of the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP, Debbie Fielding, welcomed the launch of the Compassionate Neighbours project in this area: “We are delighted that three of our local hospices are coming together to establish this innovative community-led project in our region. It is vital that we work together to tackle loneliness and social isolation in our communities, and find new ways to support people at the end of their lives. We know that very often older people and those who feel isolated would benefit considerably from a simple of cup of tea and a chat. The fact that Compassionate Neighbours pairs community members based on their shared likes and interests, means that the support will be even more meaningful and have a positive impact on people’s well-being.”

To find out more about the Compassionate Neighbours project including how to become a volunteer and how to refer a person who could benefit from the project contact the following Compassionate Neighbours Project Managers:

West Essex: Phone Stacey Towler on 01279 773279 or email stacey.towler@stclarehospice.org.uk 
East Herts: Phone Christine Novelli on 01707 382500 or email novelli.christine@gmail.com or christine.novelli@isabelhospice.org.uk 
North Herts: Phone Jeanette Farrow on 01462 679540 or email jeanette.farrow@ghhospicecare.org.uk