LOROS brings the Compassionate Communities scheme to Market Harborough

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Market Harborough, recognised as one of the best places to live in Britain, will gain another accolade this year when it becomes the first ‘Compassionate Town’ in the East Midlands.

LOROS Hospice is collaborating with Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity to build on the community spirit seen in the town throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, by setting up a ‘Compassionate Community’ in the area.

A Compassionate Community recognises the role people have each in supporting one another, and complements the work of professional healthcare services to provide support to those who are seriously ill, ageing, acting as caregivers or experiencing loss. They have been successfully set up in areas across the country, including the city of Plymouth, and Frome in Somerset.

John Feavyour, Chairman of the Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity said: “We are delighted to support the LOROS Compassionate Community scheme.

“We have been talking to LOROS for some time about how we can make their work more accessible in Market Harborough. This initiative will build on the support we have given for other mental health projects and comes at a time when loneliness is a huge problem in our society.”

LOROS will be offering free training to members of the community to create a network of ‘Compassionate Friends’ and ‘Compassionate Neighbours’, to prevent isolation and loneliness.

The training sessions will teach volunteers useful communication and body language skills to help them handle tricky conversations and give them the confidence and tools needed to help others in everyday life.

Danielle Smeeton, Community Volunteer Visiting Services Manager at LOROS said: “At LOROS, we’re often told it’s the small things that make the biggest difference, especially during periods of crisis.

“COVID-19 has made the past year particularly difficult, with many of us cut off from the people and places that would normally provide support, and it’s become more important than ever for us to come together as a community.

“Market Harborough have already done extremely well with this, and we hope that the Compassionate Communities project get people thinking about more simple ways they can be there for one another, whether in times of crisis or just in everyday life.”

Once trained, Compassionate Friends will pledge to consciously look out for people in their local area, with activities such as picking up the shopping, a prescription, or even the phone and simply checking in on their neighbour.

Compassionate Neighbours will go a step further, providing support to end-of-life patients and their families for a few hours each week. These volunteers will play a vital role in enhancing the lives of those with limited mobility or social interaction, whilst enabling carers to have a precious few hours of respite each week.

Retired BBC Leicester Presenter, Monica Winfield, who lives in Market Harborough and has been volunteering as a Compassionate Neighbour at LOROS for two years, said: “As a Compassionate Neighbour, I have sat and listened to music, talked about horses, had guided tours of lovely gardens and spent time with people who have received the hardest diagnosis of all.

“Our town regularly appears in those popular, ‘best places to live’ lists and I know that the Compassionate Communities scheme will build on the wonderful spirit we have here in Market Harborough.”

If you would like to hear more about the Compassionate Communities project, or are interested in joining a training session, please visit loros.co.uk/compassionatecommunities

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