Liz’s Story

Liz has volunteered as a Compassionate Neighbour since 2022. She shares her experience...

Liz’s Story

Liz has been volunteering as a Compassionate Neighbour since December 2022. She says:

“I have been wanting to volunteer with Peace Hospice for a while. My husband, David, was cared for by the hospice in the last few days of his life before he died in March 2021. The care he received enabled him to stay at home right to the end, which is what he wanted, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

“In December 2022 I attended the Peace Hospice Light up a Life event in memory of David and got chatting to the Compassionate Communities team. They told me they had some Compassionate Neighbours training lined up for the following week and I signed up immediately. It’s the perfect role for me because I love to chat!

“Since completing the training I’ve been matched with two community members. Rather than visiting them at home, both of my members have opted for support via phone. So I call them once per week to check how they are and have a good old chat.

“I support a gentleman who has COPD and suffers with depression. At first he wasn’t so chatty on the phone but we’ve really built a rapport now and by the time we finish our call each week he’s laughing and joking!

“It’s just a couple of phone calls each week but it really makes a difference to the community members who are isolated by illness and might not have many relatives or friends nearby.

“I also volunteer at the Compassionate Cafes once per month. The cafes are a space for anybody who is impacted by loss to get together and talk about their experience in a safe and friendly environment. I really enjoy volunteering there as I get to meet so many people and talk to them. As I’ve been bereaved too, I get as much out of the peer support as anybody else who attends and I really look forward to the monthly events.

“For me, volunteering has been a great way to get out and meet new people since losing my husband. I also struggle with loneliness, especially in the evenings, so keeping busy and building a new network of people to socialise is a great way for me to combat loneliness. This means I get as much out of volunteering as I give to my community members.

“I’ve been really happy since starting the volunteering and it’s made a huge difference to my life. I love giving back to Peace Hospice and my local community, and I love that I am meeting lots of new people. The Compassionate Neighbours volunteers have regular catch ups to socialise and discuss how our volunteering is going, and we all keep in touch via a WhatsApp group. This gives it a real community feel and means we can all support each other and share our experience.

“Now that I’m registered as a volunteer I’m keen to get involved with even more roles at the Hospice. I’m due to start volunteering in the Inpatient Unit soon, to chat to patients and keep them company. I think I’ll really enjoy that as I love face-to-face interaction and it’ll be an honour to support people at this stage of their life.”