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P-52 Learning from befrienders in compassionate communities – service co-production with volunteers
  1. Tracy Livingstone
  1. Nightingale House Hospice, Wrexham, UK


‘Compassionate Communities help to reduce isolation and loneliness and bring a sense of belonging into what is sometimes a disconnected society.’ (Abel & Kingston, 2018).

Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham, North Wales covers a diverse catchment area including urban, coastal and rural communities, and includes areas of significant deprivation (Jones, Atenstaedt & Charles, 2014).

During 2015, following the pilot of a day unit outreach service within a local, rural community, the hospice supported the community to develop a compassionate communities befriending project, and this was followed by two further befriending groups in other communities within our catchment area.

Our presentation describes a service evaluation undertaken with our volunteers from these three compassionate communities groups to identify the motivation for volunteers to become befrienders, their own social circumstances and households and how to improve the establishment of compassionate communities from the perspective of the volunteers delivering the service. The presentation identifies the enthusiasm from the volunteers to deliver a service to others and also the challenges of ensuring systems to ensure befriender safety are in place. The presentation concludes by demonstrating how the feedback from volunteers has impacted on the training delivered, in a demonstration of co-production and the systems for establishing new groups with ten active groups now in development or operation.

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