Compassionate Neighbours

The Compassionate Neighbour project was launched in Heart of Kent Hospice in January 2020 to tackle social isolation and loneliness for those living with a life-limiting illness or frailty in Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and surrounding towns and villages. 

The Compassionate Neighbours project helps unlock people’s compassion and purpose, building stronger connected communities by introducing local people based on their shared likes, interests and experiences to help forge real, reciprocal friendships. 

Compassionate Neighbours provide social and emotional support to people who have a life limiting illness, frailty, are of advanced years or carers who are experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

Together, you and your Compassionate Neighbour will benefit from a growing friendship and a listening ear. In addition to a friendly visit to you at home, they will help you become more connected with your local community, with opportunities to attend regular social events.

All our Compassionate Neighbours are trained and registered with the Hospice and have an enhanced DBS (police) check. The service is free of charge, and your Compassionate Neighbour will be ‘matched’ to you based on shared likes, experiences and interests.

To find out more about being connected with a Compassionate Neighbour, please contact our Compassionate Neighbours Team by calling 01622 792200 or emailing

This project has such an impact on the lives of our community members, many of whom would only have interactions with carers and medical professionals if it were not for the friendly visits made by their Compassionate Neighbour.

Isolation, the lack of companionship and social interactions can have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing.  A regular visit from a Compassionate Neighbour can mean so much: conversation, laughter, new interests and a caring, friendly face.  Many enjoy a trip out together to a local café, garden centre or place of interest. 

From being matched with someone like-minded or with shared interests, a real friendship truly grows. It is not just a friendship between two people, it takes on a real ripple effect and creates a wonderful community.

Marie Smith Compassionate Communities Lead, Heart of Kent Hospice

A Compassionate Neighbour can help support you by:

helping you to do the things you like doing

offering friendship, emotional support and a listening ear

helping you to stay connected where possible to your friends and the community

visiting or telephoning you regularly

Here's how our Compassionate Neighbours project has helped support Janet:

Hande, Omer and Janet Compassionate Neighbours

About three months after my husband Brian passed away, I started going to the Compassionate Neighbours meet ups, which is where I met Omer and Hande who are such a delightful young couple.

Right from the start there was a connection and as time went by this has become more pronounced. We talk about many things. Last November, my eldest Sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in July.  Omer and Hande have given me tremendous support. I have been taken out for coffee lots of times and memorable outings. We had a lovely afternoon at Teston Bridge Country Park and another at Mote Park. Recently we all went down to Allington Locks.

It is wonderful how our relationship has spanned the generation gap. I have shared a lovely Turkish meal at their home with their two sons.  Last month it was my birthday and Omer, Hande, and their two sons sent me a video of them singing Happy Birthday, I was really touched.

I am so glad that I am a part of the Compassionate Neighbours project.  The support I have received has been immeasurable.  

Janet Cox Compassionate Neighbour Community Member

Could you help support someone in your local community by becoming a Compassionate Neighbour volunteer?

Could you give just 1 -2 hours a week to offer friendship and support to a person in your local community affected by terminal illness, being a carer, or frailty and experiencing loneliness or social isolation? 

The project works by matching local people based on shared likes, experiences and interests. Volunteering as a Compassionate Neighbour is a rewarding role in which you build genuine friendships with local people who are socially isolated. We encourage you both to catch-up together, either on the phone or in person, at least once a week. 

As a Compassionate Neighbour, you’ll need to be aged 18 and complete an enhanced DBS check. You will be provided with a full training programme. The training courses are informal, interactive and give you the opportunity to explore how to use your compassion and time to help others. 

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, please contact our Compassionate Neighbours Team by calling 01622 792200 or emailing

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If you would like further information about our Hospice care services, ideas for fundraising or any aspect of our work, please do not hesitate to contact us on the details here or fill in the Contact us form.

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