Our Compassionate Communities Project helps communities support one another by helping people find the right skills, opportunities and language to provide support, empathy and a listening ear for those affected by end-of-life issues.
By starting discussions, and hearing people’s experiences and wishes related to dying, death, loss and bereavement, we can help create better end-of-life experiences and access to support.
Compassionate Communities is a public health approach to end-of-life care which compliments medical approaches by working alongside communities to enhance choice and conversations.
By offering compassionate support, we can increase understanding and help others to live well and maintain a good quality of life, gaining social connection from neighbours and community members.
Often, we can find it difficult to talk about illness, dying and bereavement due to fears and taboos, but we know that when these conversations take place people feel more in control, more supported and less isolated. We encourage people to have these conversations throughout their lives rather than waiting until a crisis.
The Befriending Service offers social connection so that those who have a life limiting illness feel more connected to their community at a time when they might otherwise be lonely or isolated.
We know that the power of a good chat over a cup of tea enhances the lives of people who are facing end-of-life issues. The service can also offer some respite for carers and family members, who can leave the house knowing their loved one has someone there to listen to them.
By listening and hearing people’s stories and experiences, our volunteers can help individuals make every day count and live a normal life for as long possible. Offering small acts of kindness, laughter, a game of scrabble, practical help or sharing memories can bring joy to people’s lives.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from having regular contact with a trained Befriender you can download our client leaflet here and refer or self-refer to the service by emailing CC@treetopshospice.org.uk or calling Julie Mehigan on 07990 040288 or 0115 9491264.
Our Befriending volunteers come from all walks of life with a wide variety of skills and experiences. The thing they all have in common is some spare time to offer and a desire to give back to their community. If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering to become a Befriender, please complete the Expression of Interest Form.
Our Compassionate Communities Ambassadors are members of the community who volunteer to support the project. They talk about issues that relate to the end-of-life. Volunteers may support events and workshops, and start conversations within their own communities and social groups.
Events and Workshops
Death Cafés and Workshops offer ways to start talking about death, dying, loss and bereavement in new and different ways.
By understanding that these discussions need not be maudlin or gloomy, we can reduce fears and taboos and have lively, fun events where people feel comfortable to talk about what is important for them.
If you would like some information about planning, support, talking about the end-of-life, or bereavement, we can provide opportunities to talk, leaflets and signposting to the most appropriate service to help individuals, families, friends, groups and colleagues.
Presentations to Groups or Organisations
If you would like someone to come and present information about the Compassionate Communities Project – to a group or organisation you run or are part of – to talk about death, dying, loss and bereavement, or any aspect related to these subjects, please contact us.
For more information about any of the volunteer roles or services, please complete the Expression of Interest Form, or email the Compassionate Communities and Engagement Lead, Julie Mehigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Befriending Service is funded for two years by a grant from the Nationwide Building Society’s Community Grant fund.