Pictured, left to right: Monica Mattocks, Janet Williams, Jane Anslow, Felicia Odunewu, Lee Ayles, Marie Alley
“I think everyone’s got a sort of wrong opinion of St Joseph’s – you know, like it’s doom and gloom, but it’s not… and you really do have a laugh with the patients, they are hilarious!
Q. What is a compassionate neighbour?
JA: Someone who comes here to St Joseph’s to be trained and to go out into the community to support anyone who is on their own, who haven’t got family.
MA: I actually just visit people in St Joseph’s Hospice. It’s just to visit them and have a nice little chat because some of them are a bit lonely, some are a bit bored, so it just brightens up their day because they do like to chat and tell you about their life and that is very rewarding. You come away feeling really good because you feel like you’ve helped them and they can tell you things that they probably can’t tell their families.
Q. What inspired you to become a compassionate neighbour?
JW: I became a volunteer here in 2016 after I retired and I used to escort patients home after the day and then I became interested in compassionate neighbours. I did the training in 2017 and I was paired up with a Jewish lady – she is 85 and I go to her house once or twice a week. She is very isolated as she has no family, so I am there for her. At the moment she’s in hospital – she’s very ill so I go and visit her at least once a day. It’s give and take, I am giving, but I am getting something back. I was ill, I had cancer, so I am giving something back to the community.
FO: I just joined last year and my aim is to help people who can’t help themselves.
Q. What have been the highlights of volunteering?
JW: I think it’s the comradeship, it’s the bonding. If I don’t see Lee,
I will text him or call him to check he’s ok – it’s like a family.
MA: I think everyone’s got a sort of wrong opinion of St Joseph’s – you know, like it’s doom and gloom, but it’s not. All the nurses and all the staff are all so lovely, they are all so helpful, so you don’t feel uncomfortable when you come here, and you really do have a laugh with the patients, they are hilarious!
LA: Yes there’s lot of laughter about with all the stories.
JA: My mind was against coming here because I thought people only come in here to die. Once I walked in the door it all changed completely and I’ve been here ever since.
MA: Where the patients are concerned, they might choose to tell you what’s wrong with them and they might not, I never ask.
JW: Even when they can’t have a conversation, just your presence there is so fundamental.
MA: It’s a lovely place, lovely.
Q. What would you say to someone reading Hackney Senior who is interested in becoming a compassionate neighbour?
LA: Give it a try! You can only try and see.
JW: Come and join us
Are you interested in becoming a compassionate neighbour?
Contact Lucia Francois about the next training course.
St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare St, London E8 4SA.
t: 020 8525 3206