• By Sinéad Nolan

Neighbours Supporting Neighbours

Last Thursday I went to speak at St Joseph’s hospice for their Compassionate Neighbour coffee morning. Compassionate Neighbours is just one of the amazing free services St Joseph’s hospice in Tower Hamlets offer. A social movement, Compassionate Neighbours can support people in the area who may be isolated or affected by losing loved ones, by offering companionship, emotional support and a listening ear. They can also provide great advice too – as they are all fully trained before they commence their role. I went to speak to the group about the services Three Sisters Care offer, but also about ageing, dignity and some of the problems faced by care services in general.

Making a difference While I was a little nervous about giving a 90-minute talk, the group were extremely warm and welcoming to me, and essentially made me their ‘special guest’ for the time I was there. Similarly, while I came with plenty of information on Three Sisters Care, what I didn’t count on was getting so much in return – which reflects quite well exactly what Compassionate Neighbours is all about! In an age where so much of our world is becoming about money and digitalisation, this grass-roots movement are all about making a real difference on a one to one basis.

To be human is not just to be a number ‘I get something from it too,’ one of the volunteers told me. ‘It is not just about befriending – it’s about connecting with people. I have met so many people by becoming a volunteer for Compassionate Neighbours – I’ve met people who I would not have met and done things I never imagined!’ In a strange way, they seemed to echo the ethos of Three Sisters Care – to be human is not just to be a number; everyone deserves companionship, conversation and friends.

If you would like to find out more about Compassionate Neighbours – you can attend their coffee mornings every Thursday at 10am in the Community Hub at St Joseph's Hospice where you can meet other volunteers, beneficiaries and learn more about the project and how you could get involved. For more info please see https://www.stjh.org.uk/neighbours


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