A Compassionate Community is a community that is at ease with itself in talking about the issues arising from ‘ageing’ and sickness and is an active approach to community development. It actively involves citizens in their own end-of-life care and support concerns and solutions. In the process this can change social environments, cultures, conduct and attitudes towards end of life experiences and self-care and the potential to greatly reduce pressures on over stretched Statutory Health, Social services and Third sector supports with citizens who are informed and able support each other to think about, talk about and write down their future care plans. Planning for our future care-needs involves talking about death, dying, caring and grief and this is a topic that is not addressed very well by the general population. In addition there is a lack of facilitated support to enable individuals, families and groups to talk about these issues together and to take control and responsibility for our own health care in the future.
The project has explored a range of opportunities enabling communities to learn about and to support each other around End of Life Care issues and lived experiences. The project was able to address the emotional and social needs by facilitating workshops, talks, presentations, community cafes, film clubs, etc. that enabled people to gather in a safe space to learn about planning for their future care together in a supportive environment.
Although this was a one-off project with the aim of addressing a number of identified un-met needs during a 12-month timescale, a number of follow-on projects have been developed as a result.
” Peter had become very reclusive, his only contact is with professionals that are paid to be in his life (GP, Nurses, Shop keepers etc) and it was through the ‘kind’ person at Reception at his GP surgery that he learned about the weekly Café. He only went to the surgery to have his ears cleansed, but the kind Receptionist made a point of telling him about the Café. He was told that it is a space to meet other people over tea, cake and conversation around the subject of ageing, loss, grief and sharing stories. She encouraged him to go along and make an effort to meet people. Peter has been coming along to the Brynberian Compassionate Community Café held weekly in the morning. Over the last 20 weeks he has developed friendships and shared stories of death, loss and grief and learned to make his first ever lemon drizzle cake (just like his late Wife would make).”
We will continue to progress the initiative and have learned a lot from the experience of facilitating community gatherings and individual 1:1 support provided. We are focussing on the future and the needs to address the very low levels of Death Literacy in our communities.
Arwain Sir Benfro and the LEADER Programme concluded in December 2021 once all projects were completed and funding exhausted. There is now no dedicated support upon the completion of the LEADER Programme in Pembrokeshire. Should you have any queries, PLANED as the previous administrators, may be able to assist, or similarly for wider questions on the LEADER Programme in Wales, please contact the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO).