Compassionate communities

Compassionate Communities

Compassion is at the heart of all we do at St Luke’s, and we know that often it is the ‘little things’ that can help make a big difference to people going through difficult times.

With the aim of helping everyone to live well within their communities to the very end of their lives, we want to develop compassionate communities across the areas where we deliver our care.

A compassionate community is one in which everyone recognises that as individuals we all have a role in supporting each other, particularly during periods of crisis or loss.

Reaching out to others not only reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, it helps meet the needs of those who wish to be cared for in place of choice and stay within their communities. Whether you are a neighbour, friend, colleague or family member, we all have a part to play in helping each other.

Compassionate Friends

A Compassionate Friend is someone who looks out for others and ‘makes a difference’ to those with a life limiting illness or affected by loss. There’s no limit to the ways in which you can do this but essentially, it’s about lending a helping hand or a friendly ear.

A Compassionate Friend is not a professional counsellor or health expert, but a good listener who shows their neighbour, friend or peer they care.

From stopping by for a cup of tea or a chat to helping with shopping or a few chores, simple but heartfelt gestures help people stay connected to friends and the community.

Through our awareness session, a Compassionate Friend learns a little bit more about how taking the time to LEND a helping hand or friendly ear can make a difference and then turns that understanding into action – anyone can be a Compassionate Friend.

Compassionate Friends awareness sessions

Our awareness session builds a Compassionate Friends’ skills and confidence to have open honest and sensitive conversations and think about ways they can help and support those in their community. They are run by Compassionate Friends Champions, who are trained and supported by St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth and are free and open to all 18 + (sessions are adapted for younger ages please contact us to find out more).

What does the session cover?

  • Breaking down taboos and myths about death and dying
  • Thinking about how we can have compassionate conversations
  • How taking the times to LEND a helping hand or a friendly ear can make a difference
  • What support services are available for those at end of life or experiencing loss.

What can we do as a community?

Our aim is to form new ways of working between communities and specialist services to improve end of life care locally. We want to create a community of compassionate friends and ultimately dispel the myths about death and dying. By adopting a community development approach to end of life care, where care is more patient led and by working with various local communities and networks to enable them to provide support, we can all hope to become compassionate communities. You can find out more about our current community projects on our Projects and Partnerships page.

Recognising what communities are already doing and supporting them to do more, as well as encouraging and developing the ability of all of us to discuss dying, death and bereavement in better-informed and more confident ways, will help dying and bereaved people be better supported within their communities.

We want to encourage people to become ‘compassionate friends’ by training and connecting them into networks of support, so they can be become effective self-sustaining networks of support for people, their families and communities.

What can I do to help?

We are forming a city wide End of Life Compassionate Network and would like to hear from individuals, community groups, organisations, schools etc. that would like to work together to develop an inclusive city for end of life that publicly encourages, facilitates, supports and celebrates care for one another with a life limiting illness and loss through compassionate action.

There are many ways to gets involved, download our form here and select your interest. We are particularly want to hear from those who want to deliver action through Arts & Culture and those who want to be part of a city peacetime memorial event.

Find a compassionate community near you

Enter your postcode to discover support in your community for those at end of life or facing loss and bereavement.

Compassionate people are members of the community who have attended an awareness session which builds their skills and confidence to have open, honest and sensitive conversations to help support those in their community who are at end of life or are experiencing loss. These unpaid Compassionate Friends have been trained by St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth but are not managed by the charity.

Map Key

If you are considering using a PA, you can find additional information and local availability below.