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St. Clare Hospice

The Team at ART are always on the look out for similar schemes to ART Butterfly Volunteers, and this week Liz met St Clare Hospice CEO, Sarah Thompson, and Stacey Towler, who leads on their Compassionate Neighbours project. Once we had had a chance to hear about each others work – we agreed that the Compassionate Neighbour team really are the prequel to the ART Butterfly Volunteers. Spending time with people, in their own homes, in the weeks and months after their diagnosis.

ART have had to disappoint so many people who are keen to join our team, as spaces are limited, since the beginning of the year – and St Clare need more volunteers to become Compassionate Neighbours – so this seemed like an obvious solution!

We would love to hear from you if you would like more information… Here is a message from Stacey Towler, Compassionate Neighbours Manager at St Clare Hospice, Essex.

“Firstly, I would like to say what amazing job the ART Butterfly Volunteers do, making such a difference to so many people!

My name is Stacey Towler and I am the Compassionate Neighbours Manager based at St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood. Compassionate Neighbours is a new project at the hospice and was officially launched on the 7thMarch 2018. Looking to support people in the last chapter of their lives in their community, the project aims to prevent loneliness and isolation.

Each Compassionate Neighbour is ‘matched’ with a Community Member based in their local community, on the basis of shared interests, likes and life experiences. They then meet together every week for a minimum for an hour, however, there are no set time frames. The connection between a Compassionate Neighbour and a Community Member is one of mutual benefit, with friendship and companionship at the heart of the relationship. It is almost as if the role of a Compassionate Neighbour is the prequel to the Butterfly role!

St Clare’s Chief Executive, Sarah Thompson, and I, met with Anne Robson Trust Director Liz Pryor recently to discuss how our two projects can work side by side. Liz told us about the amazing number of applications and enquires they have received over the past few months for people interested in becoming an ART Butterfly Volunteer, which was many more than she anticipated or that they could offer the role to.

As an alternative, St Clare Hospice would like to offer the opportunity for people to get involved in a similar, but slightly different scheme. Each person undertaking the role of a Compassionate Neighbour is given the skills to do the role through informal training sessions. Our next training is over 2 days, our current planned dates are on the 29thand 30thJune. There are also future dates planned.

If you would like to know more about the role of a Compassionate Neighbour, what we do and the support we offer to our volunteers please do not hesitate to email me at: stacey.towler@stclarehospice.org.uk or call me on 01279 773 729.

There is also more information about the role on our website: www.stclarehospice.org.uk/compassionate-neighbours

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