Introduction In 2014 St Joseph’s Hospice set up compassionate neighbours (CN) to address social isolation for those experiencing a chronic or terminal illness. Built on foundations of community development principles the neighbours provide emotional and social support to community members. With significant funding from Nesta we are upscaling the project with seven other hospices.
Aim Our aim is to build a wider network of CN who are supporting people in their local communities; we will test and learn how the project can be replicated in other areas. Our ultimate aim is to create a social movement establishing a network of CNs across the country.
Method We are training and mentoring other hospice adopters to replicate the project in their own areas whilst testing which ingredients are key to the success of the project. Our review of the programme including formal evaluation will form the basis for a potential national roll out across the country.
Results Review of our progress including a recent conference for CN feedback from hospice CEOs and project leads describes ongoing interest in the CN programme. There is additional interest from other hospices and other organisations outside of the Nesta programme. That said challenges exist around local implementation of a model shaped elsewhere translation of particular principles underpinning the CN programme and concerns around long-term sustainability and ownership of the network.
Conclusion Further thought is required about how to build the social movement and whether this effort should sit within the hospice sector or within a community development context in the future.
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