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Compassionate Community


The charity Compassionate Communities UK (CC-UK) presented Whittington and Fisherwick with the prestigious award on Monday, November 1, as a surprise to coincide with the first International Compassionate Communities Day.

A compassionate community is one where communities actively encourage and support one another during life’s most challenging times such as those relating to serious illness, death and bereavement.

Members of the Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbour Scheme have been a focal point in the village over the past six years supporting elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents. They have been supported by the parish council and a range of groups and businesses within the village including the Co-op, the Scouts, the Women’s Institute, the pharmacy, Woodhouse Farm and many others.

St Giles was one of the first hospices in the UK to commence a community development programme, recognising that, alongside specialist palliative care, communities needed to be supported in order to have the confidence and resilience to provide support for each other. As a result, the Good Neighbour Scheme and St Giles Hospice have been working successfully together for a number of years leading to the new accreditation.

Peter Ellis, Chair of Trustees for CC-UK, said: “To achieve Compassionate Community status requires demonstration that a place, in this case a village, is coming together, across different sectors, schools, businesses, care providers and most importantly citizens to support each other on issues to do with death, dying and loss.

“What is clear in Whittington and Fisherwick is that the Good Neighbour Scheme has become a focus in bringing the community together along with the contribution from St Giles Hospice, the parish council and others. On evaluating the evidence towards accreditation, the panel was very impressed and was in no doubt that the village deserves this award.”

Ian Leech, Community Engagement Manager at St Giles Hospice, said that, in addition to working with local schools and hosting events, the hospice had provided facilities for community groups to meet as well as delivered sessions on care planning, funeral wishes, dementia friends training and understanding bereavement.

“Any way that we can help and do our bit for the village and for the people who live here, we’ll do it,” said Ian. “Ultimately we want to be a part of Whittington village, not apart from it, and I think we do that very well thanks to the Good Neighbour Scheme.”

Terry Tricker, Chair of Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbours said: “It is an honour for the work of our residents to be recognised in this way. Our collaboration with St Giles Hospice has provided additional resources and support for our community and in turn we have supported them in their work on improving end of life care and bereavement support out in communities. There are so many people to thank in relation to this award, it is a wonderful community to be part of.”

Garry Hyde, Chair of the Whittington and Fisherwick Parish Council said: “This is a fantastic award and I’m so pleased the hard work of all our village groups and residents has been recognised in this way.

“The neighbourhood has always pulled together and looked after the community – even more so since the COVID pandemic so this award means the world to us.”

Whittington resident Val Brocklebank said volunteers for the Good Neighbour Scheme had been particularly supportive during lockdown, popping round with treats and taking residents to and from vaccination appointments.

“I don’t know what I’d do without them,” she said. “The scheme has given me some human contact and company. I think they’re the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened in this village and we’re very fortunate to have them.”

For further information or for any media enquiries please contact gary.young@stgileshospice.com or Gary Young on 07855 926123.