St Christopher’s seeks compassionate neighbours in Gipsy Hill

St Christopher’s Hospice is launching an award-winning Compassionate Neighbours scheme in the Gypsy Hill area and is looking for compassionate volunteers to get involved and support local people experiencing social isolation towards the end of their life. The hospice is holding a free, drop-in launch event with art, live music and food at Christ Church Gipsy Hill, SE19, on Saturday 21 October between 1.30 until 3.30pm for anyone wanting to find out more.

Areas within Crystal Palace and Gipsy Hill have been shown to be some of the most at risk for loneliness within Bromley and Lambeth, according to Age UK’s Loneliness Heat Maps, which is why St Christopher’s project will initially focus on the Crystal Palace area. Crystal Palace is also the intersection of the five London boroughs that St Christopher’s supports.

Volunteers in the scheme will offer their time, companionship and emotional support to the people around them in their community who are experiencing a chronic or terminal illness or loneliness or social isolation towards the end of their life.

Steph Turner, Community Participation Lead, at St Christopher’s explains, “Visits from volunteers usually take place once a week, and can be as simple as having a chat over a cup of tea or taking a walk in the park. These simple things can easily be taken for granted, but they can mean so much to someone who is unable to get out on their own or who is feeling isolated. Compassionate Neighbours is a very fulfilling project to be involved in, bringing people together and reaping rewards not just for the community member but also for our volunteers.”

Compassionate Neighbours seeks to reach communities who don’t traditionally access hospice care because of the barriers of language, culture, or lifestyle, and to draw local communities closer together.

The award-winning Compassionate Neighbors project was initiated by St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney and it has secured funding from Nesta (a grants foundation which supports innovative projects) to roll the project out across London.

St Christopher’s is the first hospice to adopt the project and Compassionate Neighbours in Crystal Palace will form part of over 400 volunteers across London who will be trained and then mobilised to offer their time, friendship and emotional support to community members.

The London Mozart Players are also celebrating the launch of Compassionate Neighbours with an evening concert held at St John the Evangelist from 7pm on Saturday 21 October. Tickets available at londonmozartplayers.com

For more information, please visit https://www.stchristophers.org.uk/compassionateneighbours/

Alternatively contact Steph Turner, Community Participation Lead, at St Christopher’s CN@stchristophers.org.uk or 07867 556472.