Compassionate Neighbours continue to bring friendship into people’s lives

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Published on: Tuesday 21 May 2024 at 15:14

Could you spare an hour a week to help transform the life of someone in your community who is lonely or socially isolated?

St Clare Hospice is looking for more people to volunteer as Compassionate Neighbours. Something as simple as having a chat over a cup of tea can make a huge difference.

Peter and Karl, and Audrey and Ruby, were matched as part of St Clare’s Compassionate Neighbours programme. Karl is teaching Peter how to use his air fryer, and Ruby meets up with Audrey to chat about their families and what they’ve been doing in the week. 

Karl, who retired last year, said: “I’ve done a few jobs in my life, from being a butcher when I left school, to owning a shipping container company. My Compassionate Neighbours match, Peter, is isolated because he can’t drive anymore and where he lives is pretty rural. 

“When I was matched with him, he wasn’t doing much cooking. I enjoy cooking, so I made a few meals for him in my air fryer and then took them round. Now he has an air fryer of his own he’s well away, and it also saves him money on his electricity bills. He’s even doing his favourite fried bread in it!”

Karl continued: “Since Peter can’t get out, I bring the outside world to him. I always say the best gift you can give someone is time – and you can’t put a price on that. With Compassionate Neighbours, I give my time freely and I can see how much Peter gets from my visits.”

Meanwhile, Audrey, who moved to Harlow from Surrey when she got married, spends time with Ruby at the Hospice’s Cafe Clare on a Friday morning. 

“I don’t get out very often, but Ruby picks me up and takes me to the Cafe, which I enjoy very much,” Audrey said. “She’s easy to talk to and we just get on. We go for elevensies and there is always cake and bacon sandwiches!”

Compassionate Neighbours are matched based on shared interests and experiences, helping to grow genuine friendships.

If you feel you have time in your life for a new friend and would like to find out more about becoming a Compassionate Neighbour, please get in touch by emailing cn@stclarehospice.org.uk or calling 01279 594471. Full training and ongoing support is provided. 

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