Compassionate Communities

Elizabeth Gervais-Golland (left) shares happy memories with Co Co volunteer Nancy Hemmings (right)

A joint initiative of St Michael’s Hospice and the Diocese of Hereford working in partnership with local General Practices

Compassionate communities, Co Co for short, comprises a network of volunteers who are trained at St Michael’s to help people in need by offering small acts of kindness.

Working closely with GP surgeries; GPs help to identify their most vulnerable and isolated patients. The patient is then matched with a local trained Co Co volunteer befriender who will undertake to visit that person regularly for an agreed length of time to:

  • Be a confidential listener.
  • Offer emotional support and reassurance to people referred by the GP, who for a variety of reasons are lonely.
  • Provide support and encouragement and where appropriate to help reconnect with activities or interests within their community.
  • Signpost unmet needs to appropriate services for further support.

Compassionate Communities Co-coordinator and retired GP Karilyn Collins knows that for people living on their own, having regular visits can help identify emerging health issues and has many wellbeing benefits ‘I’ve heard some wonderful stories and one volunteer has arranged to fulfil a client’s wish by visiting places that hold special memories. By creating a network of volunteers, Compassionate Communities is making a real difference to the lives of many living in the community’.

If you are interested or would like to find out more, please contact Chrissie Pepler