Closer to the community
It has been three years since we launched our Community Links and Community Support Volunteer (CSV) projects as part of our Closer to You strategy. Initially funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the projects have allowed us to build links with organisations across our catchment area and offer befriending support to patients and carers at home.
Here are some of the highlights of the projects to date:
The project has so far allowed us to build links with over 80 organisations across our catchment area. The network provides an opportunity for us to share information about our services and learn more about what local organisations and groups offer. It includes a large diversity of groups from schools and churches to local charities and social groups.
Throughout the project it has also been our aim to connect with groups serving marginalised communities, such as people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, people who identify as LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. We recognise certain groups may find it harder to access hospice care and the project has enabled us to reach out to these people.
To keep our links informed of hospice developments, our Community Engagement Co-ordinator Lucy Cheshire holds regular get togethers and sends regular update packs. She also offers tours of the hospice and talks about our work at groups’ own locations. In recent months we have also been able to give groups the chance to have an information stand at our recently refurbished welcome area.
We estimate that in its third year the project has reached 15,000 individuals across our catchment area – 40,000 throughout the whole project.
Community Support Volunteers
Our CSVs are matched to patients and carers who they can get to know and support through their illness. Sometimes they may visit them at home, other times they may go out for coffee or do other activities together.
Since we launched the project, 152 volunteers have supported 209 patients and carers. In a recent survey we found out that CSV support had helped 82% of patients and carers feel less isolated and 72% feel less lonely.
Patient Sylvia and CSV Jane were matched due to their mutual love of music and gardening.
‘We get on very well and have a lot in common,’ Sylvia told us. ‘Jane took me to a local classical concert, and we also went to the seafront. Having someone to talk to who likes classical music is wonderful, and Jane is such a nice person. We are very well suited, and we have a great friendship.’