The vision of St Catherine’s Hospice is that everyone in Central Lancashire who is facing a life-shortening condition has a good quality of life, to the end of life.
Sadly we can’t reach everyone who needs us with our front-line services – whether because of pressures on our resources, rising demand from the population we serve or a reluctance from some people to engage with a hospice. This is why we are working on a new approach called Compassionate Communities.
The idea is to encourage and empower communities to support relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues who are dying or living with loss. It involves a shift away from formal services being ‘provided for’ people, to communities being mobilised to support themselves alongside and in partnership with established services such as those provided by St Catherine’s.
In this approach, our role shifts from solely being a service provider, to also becoming a facilitator – empowering communities to shape and develop the initiatives that they most value and most urgently need.
Involving and working with the local community does not signal a drastic change of direction for St Catherine’s; indeed the hospice only exists today because of the people of Central Lancashire communities who inspired and created the charity 35 years ago, and continue to drive the hospice forward.
Just as an incredible community effort goes into raising the funds required to run the organisation, and providing the work and volunteer force required, the Compassionate Communities approach will see St Catherine’s work in partnership with local people to help those affected by life-shortening conditions and bereavement receive the practical and emotional support they need at this difficult and poignant time in their lives.
What is our vision for the Compassionate Communities approach?
We want people to feel as supported at the end of life, as they do in the beginning.
There is a wealth of support available for new parents which exists far beyond the formal midwifery and health visiting services of the NHS. The support network includes many people from outside these areas – of course family and friends, but also those from the wider community. This could be anything from a ‘match-making’ App which puts people in touch with other new parents, to baby and toddler activity groups in everything from music to messy play.
We want the network of support available to those facing a life-shortening condition or living with bereavement to become just as wide, far-reaching and varied. We want this network to shaped organically by the community who need it, and, as such, be well-utilised and effective in making a real difference to local people.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you could be involved with creating a Compassionate Community in your area, please email Debbie Bolton: email@example.com or call 01772 629171.
What is already being done?
Some of the services St Catherine’s already facilitates fit under the umbrella of Compassionate Communities.
- Monthly carers’ drop-in and bereavement support sessions held at the hospice, open to all
- Volunteer befrienders who work across Central Lancashire befriending those with life-shortening conditions, and volunteer advisors who work at The Mill Cafe offering emotional support and an information sign-posting advice
- A programme of education seminars for the public covering topics including advance care planning and moving and handling
- Professional training, qualifications and conferences for current and prospective health and social care professionals, sharing specialist knowledge and skills further into the community
- Our self-help online resource library for patients and families
Interested in finding out more?
Got an idea about how you could help us achieve our vision?
Please contact Debbie Bolton, Head of Clinical Education, St Catherine’s Hospice: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01772 629171