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Project information

Hospice Neighbours

Hospice Neighbours is an innovative venture that aims to support people and families living with terminal illnesses. Local volunteers provide practical support to people in their own homes. We intend for this to become a model which can be replicated elsewhere – inspiring other organisations.

One year to establish, then ongoing

Charity information: St Nicholas Hospice Care

St Nicholas Hospice Care logo
  • Need


    When you’re living with a terminal condition the world doesn't stop, and all the household tasks still need doing. People living with dying can become even more distressed by seeing their garden overgrown or their dog not walked, and providing providing solutions to these simple problems can have a big impact. This unmet need to provide practical support to patients and families has been identified through discussions with local partners and individuals.


    Hospice Neighbours is an innovative project which aims to empower communities to care for those effected by life shortening illness. Local volunteers are trained and supported to help patients, families and carers by taking away life's unnecessary stresses. This might include tasks such as:

    - walking the dog
    - collecting a prescription
    - mowing the lawn
    - going to the post office
    - sitting and having a chat over a cup of tea

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To recruit 60 volunteers, fully trained and supported to provide a
    'befriending' service


    » Recruitment and training of a total of 60 volunteers
    » Pilot rolled out to all Hospice areas

    What success will look like

    1. Increased support for patients with positive impact on health & wellbeing
    2. Increased support for family carers
    3. Establishing a working model which can replicated elsewhere

    Aim 2

    To integrate the project into the Hospice's core services and the local community as a whole


    » Establish increased clinical awareness of the project through attendance at team meetings and clinical involvement in volunteer training and support
    » Establish increased awareness among local health and social care professionals, through attendance at Gold Standard Framework meetings
    » Marketing campaign to increase awareness of the service
    » Use feedback from clinicians and local professionals to improve the service

    What success will look like

    1. Reduced pressure on Hospice and external clinical teams
    2. Reduced unnecessary hospital admissions
    3. Increased nominations to the service from local communities

    Aim 3

    For the service to become a sustainable, community-led scheme, with the Hospice's support


    » Recruitment of volunteer co-ordinators to manage the service in each area
    » Establish a regular training and support system for all volunteer teams
    » Use feedback from volunteers to improve the service
    » Reduce Hospice input in managing the project by progressively handing all responsibility to volunteer coordinators

    What success will look like

    1. Increased community awareness of death and dying
    2. Demonstrated community spirit
    3. Local volunteers provided with transferable skills and improved

  • Impact


    This is a new, innovative project with only a few comparative services operating in the UK. We aim to deliver benefits to volunteers and patients that can be replicated elsewhere in the country. We also aim to have a positive impact on local society collectively, and to provide valuable opportunities to individuals. This will be measured by feedback from participants and partners, take-up of the service, and influence on other organisations who set up similar services


    1. Volunteers feel unsupported. We're tackling this by establishing a formal volunteer training process and regular (6-weekly) support sessions
    2. The public is unaware of the project. To ensure need is identified we are marketing the project, building links with GPs, district nurses and with Hospice clinical teams
    3. Volunteers and clinical staff do not communicating properly, effecting the patient's care. Our Healthcare Record system will record and track information for all people to view


    Our Healthcare Record system allows us to track key information such as visits made and what was achieved. We have also begun to collect feedback from patients and volunteers via evaluation forms. Once established formal feedback will be gained from healthcare professionals - all reported to donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £62,597

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £16,575 Project Manager salary Part Time (0.5 Full Time Equivalent), including National Insurance and Pension
      £24,978 Project Coordinator salary Full Time
      £11,164 Administrator salary Part Time (0.5 Full Time Equivalent)
      £6,552 Expenses & Training Travel and mobile phone expenses, office running costs, training costs
      £3,328 Area Set-up Costs Marketing and promotion

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    NHS Suffolk £31,089 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Hospice Neighbours work to support people in their own homes. The project has been launched in two pilot areas (Haverhill and Stanton), enabling us to develop it in a controlled way. Over the next 12 months we aim to roll the project out to each of the eight main population centres in our area, covering all communities in West Suffolk and South Norfolk.


    We estimate that 180 patients and families will be supported by Hospice Neighbours in 2011/12. This is based on 35 volunteers supporting an average of four patients each over the year. We forecast that this will rise to 240 patients/families supported by 60 volunteers in 2012/13. The project will help us to widen access to hospice care, as per our new strategy. This includes supporting people at an earlier stage in the care cycle, and those with non-malignant illnesses such as heart failure.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our staff are local experts in the provision of palliative care. We have experience of running successful community based projects with our Community Hospice Team. The team provides home based clinical and nursing care to people with life shortening illnesses, as well as supporting their carers. We also have a long history of volunteer support, with over 550 volunteers working to save the Hospice £600,000 per years in salary costs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Emma Page

    Project Manager. Emma is responsible for leading the project. She has significant people and project management experience.

    Kay Newman

    Hospice Neighbours Project Coordinator. Kay organises volunteer recruitment and training, and liaises with clinical professionals.

    David Rushton

    Head of Family Support at the Hospice. David leads and manages the clinical side of the training for volunteers.

“I can tell my Hospice Neighbour things I can’t tell my daughter...because I don’t want to worry her”