Dave has been fundraising for Peace Hospice Care for over 20 years, since his mother-in-law received care from a hospice. His wife, Jan and he were then inspired to begin supporting his local hospice charity.
After a three-year term as a trustee of Peace Hospice Care until 2022, Dave became a Compassionate Neighbour last year. In this role he supports people in his area who are lonely or isolated as a result of a life-limiting illness or bereavement.
“I’m currently supporting my third community member. The three people I’ve supported over the past year have all had very different circumstances and each one has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience in its own right.
“The first lady I supported was isolated due to bereavement and was also very unwell. My visits to her were all about offering company and a listening ear. I would visit for an hour or so each week and we would have a cuppa and a chat.
“I then supported a man who was living with a brain tumour. That pairing was all about keeping him company and also offering emotional support to his family. As well as visiting him at home I visited him during admissions to the hospital and Peace Hospice, which is where he spent the last few weeks of his life.
“I’m currently matched with Jason. He is isolated due to bereavement after recently losing his wife. We both have a passion for cars which helped us to get off on the right foot when we first met. The Compassionate Communities Coordinator at Rennie Grove Peace does a fantastic job of matching Compassionate Neighbours with community members based on things like location and interests, to make sure the matches are a real success.
“I love supporting Jason each week. He has mobility issues so I can support him with getting out of the house. We often go to the supermarket together or we tend to jobs around his house.
“Being a Compassionate Neighbour is all about doing things with your community member, not for them. So I don’t do DIY for Jason, we do things together.
“I really enjoy our afternoons together each week. Jason has led such an interesting life that there’s always a new tale to hear or a fact about him that I didn’t know. Jason’s big love is cars and he’s very knowledgeable about them. We can talk for hours about cars and he also enjoys showing me his own beloved car.
“Jason and I meet on a different day each week. I work part time but my working pattern isn’t fixed. So we just get in touch each week and arrange a day that works for both of us, between my work and Jason’s medical appointments. That’s something I really like about being a Compassionate Neighbour, it’s very flexible. You can meet any day of the week that works for you – whether that’s a weekday or weekend – and arrange it to suit you both.”
When he’s not volunteering as a Compassionate Neighbour, Dave works as a London taxi driver and taxi tour guide. In December this year, the two worlds collided when he treated his community member, Jason, to a Christmas lights taxi tour of London’s West End! After a turkey lunch at a Baker Street pub, Dave took Jason on a tour of Marylebone, Mayfair and Soho, including the lights of Bond Street. What a great way to mark the festive season together!
Dave’s community member, Jason, says:
“Having Dave as a Compassionate Neighbour has been great for me. We get on really well and it’s just like having a friend visit. I still drive and can get out independently but it’s nice to be able to do that with Dave so he can support me with my mobility. I’ve just had a hip operation so I’ve been a bit less mobile than usual and it has been good to have Dave’s company each week while I recover.
“I’d recommend Compassionate Neighbours to anybody. It’s such a lovely way to meet someone new and it’s great to have that appointment in your diary each week if you’re feeling isolated.”