What is the “Compassionate Communities” movement?
With Australia’s ageing population set to double by 2050, more than ever collaborative action is required from health organisations, non-government organisations and the community. Prof Allan Kellehear, a medical and public health sociologist with interests in death, dying and end of life care, started this movement in Australia in the 1990’s (led by the Groundswell Project) as a result of his own research and similar movements across the world. Prof Allan Kellehear says that “less than 5% of the time that a dying or grieving or socially isolated person spends in their life is in front of a doctor and a nurse” and that means that “95% of their time is spent with family, friends, animal companions, TV, the internet or alone”. He says “What can we do about this? Can we put a hospice or palliative care unit on every street corner? Not likely. But can we get the community involved?” The answer is yes we can. Compassionate Communities is about encouraging the whole community to take responsibility for caring for one another in times of need, loss or crisis. By this becoming the task and responsibility of everyone in a community, we are then in a much better position to reduce what often accompanies dying and grieving – anxiety, depression, loneliness, social isolation, stigma, social rejection and absence from work and public life. Together with other communities across Australia, CCNB has joined this movement and is part of the National Groundbreakers project that is focused on building compassionate communities to better deal with end of life, death, dying and bereavement.
What are Compassionate Communities?
Compassionate Communities are made up of community members who are knowledgeable and informed about how to care for people experiencing death, dying, loss or social isolation. These community members consider the needs of people they encounter in their everyday lives and extend a helping hand to them when they need it most.
Why and how CCNB is involved?
We are proud leaders of the Northern Beaches Compassionate Communities Network.
We are a not-for-profit, community based organisation. We provide impartial, independent information, advice and guidance to support people to access health and community services. Our focus is to support people, their families and carers to navigate the health and social care systems to access the services they require when they require them. CCNB aims to ensure everyone gets the most out of life. As such, we decided to create opportunities for community members to get involved and lead initiatives that will change the way we see and manage end of life and social isolation across our community.
Become a Compassionate Champion
Our Compassionate Champions support people in the community on their journey through end of life. They are people who have a deep interest in helping people in the community better deal with dying and bereavement. The role of the Compassionate Champion is to:
- Treat others with dignity, equity and respect
- Be empathetic and compassionate
- Listen and provide information where appropriate
- Talk with people about death and dying
- Meet regularly with people requiring end of life support and develop a plan of support
If you would like to volunteer or chat further regarding these and any other available opportunities, please phone us on 1300 002 262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also help refer eligible individuals to our volunteer programs:
The individuals who we pair up with a volunteer are referred by a health care professional, family member or carer or may refer themselves.
Those applying must:
• Be living in the Northern Sydney region
• Be experiencing social isolation and/or living with a terminal or life-limiting illness
To make a referral, you can:
• Email email@example.com
• Call us on 1300 002 262