St Elizabeth Hospice has announced its involvement with the Compassionate Communities project in order to promote open conversations about bereavement, death and dying as well as guidance for how communities can support one another.
Compassionate Communities is a national approach which supplements the support given by healthcare providers, by equipping the public to support each other with kindness during some of the most difficult times in their lives, such as the death of a loved one or the diagnosis of a serious illness.
As part of Compassionate Communities, St Elizabeth Hospice will provide resources and guidance to enable the public to feel more confident in having conversations surrounding the ‘taboo’ topics of bereavement, death and dying.
Greg Cooper, Compassionate Communities Lead Project Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, explained: “Helping people is at the heart of our work and this is why we are keen to nurture the development of Compassionate Communities in east Suffolk and Great Yarmouth and Waveney, so we can extend our care and work together to help one another.
“We aim to help people feel comfortable talking about emotionally difficult experiences by providing practical support, knowledge and guidance as well as developing communication skills and confidence, in order for the public to support those in their own communities experiencing bereavement or grief.
“Often not talking about bereavement or death, can leave many feeling isolated, but through Compassionate Communities we want to help people find the words to tell their stories and ensure nobody is left alone.”
Through nurturing the scheme, St Elizabeth Hospice will encourage members of the community to take advantage of the tools and guidance developed by the hospice.
Available on the hospice website, these resources include free bereavement training programmes, online social groups providing comfortable environments for conversations to take place and guidance for the public on how to work alongside the hospice and establish their own Compassionate Communities.
Open to all, schools, businesses, community groups and individuals can join together and support Compassionate Communities as Compassionate Friends by helping others in their community who are at the end-of-life or are experiencing loss and bereavement.
This could include connecting people with support services and community groups, organising community activities and events, facilitating friendship groups or enabling partnerships with local organisations.
One local organisation collaborating with St Elizabeth Hospice, as part of Compassionate Communities, is Cuppa café in Felixstowe. Owner of the Cuppa café, Sarah Fitch, who recently joined the scheme as a Compassionate Friend, said: “After opening in June 2019, Cuppa has evolved to become a real community hub. We have many customers who have become friends and meet regularly to chat and support each other.
“Before the impact of the pandemic, we hosted events such as Friendly Fridays, which brought isolated people together over a free cup of tea each week, so we were excited to join St Elizabeth Hospice in promoting the Compassionate Communities project.
“Now more than ever before, people need each other for support and Compassionate Communities enables community groups and individuals to join together to ensure no one is forgotten and all have places to go to find help.”
Greg added: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the strength of communities uniting and we have seen how small acts of kindness and friendship can make a big difference to people’s lives.
“Through Compassionate Communities, we are calling on the public to get in contact and to collaborate with the hospice to continue this positive community connection and improve the well-being and happiness of as many people as possible in our local communities.”
For further information about joining alongside St Elizabeth Hospice as part of Compassionate Communities call 01473 932492, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/compassion/.