How Keech Hospice Care works with local organisations to empower local communities to support each other and gain confidence in having conversations about death, dying and bereavement.

This page takes around 3 minutes to read.

Project overview


The Compassionate Communities team at Keech Hospice Care has worked hard to build relationships with a range of local groups and organisations, such as:

  • the University of Bedfordshire
  • local Further Education colleges
  • schools
  • adult learning centres
  • libraries
  • the local police force
  • funeral directors
  • social prescribers
  • other local charities.

In partnership with these organisations, they use a community-led, creative approach to raise awareness of issues surrounding death, dying and bereavement. They find solutions that are tailored to each community, empowering them to better support each other.



Facilitators, challenges and advice


Key facilitators

Keech already had relationships with some key local organisations, such as the University of Bedfordshire. The Compassionate Communities team has been able to capitalise on this to develop programmes.


The concept of ‘Compassionate Communities’ is not familiar to everyone, so the team need to explain what this is and how it works. Typically, it takes around four to five meetings for someone to understand what the term means and how workshops or events might benefit their community.

Although this process takes time, it has a crucial role in developing meaningful connections for the team. 

Tips and advice


Be creative. Find out what matters to people and tailor your approach to make it engaging for them. In the past, the team have used an adapted version of ‘Jenga’ and staged a play as a way to start conversations with different groups of people.

Take your time. Don’t be disappointed if numbers aren’t huge to start with, you can adapt and build from there.

Be flexible. Adapt your approach depending on what matters most to the people you are working with. If people are interested in volunteering, find out what their skills are and think about how you can best utilise them.

Future development


The team is working with colleagues from Human Resources to start conversations in the community about careers in the hospice sector. This includes running recruitment days, giving tours to students and setting up volunteer to career pathways.

In the long term, the team hopes to build ongoing relationships with local young people by engaging with them at key points in their education – at school, college and university. This could mean they see the same cohort of students at several different points, building on their interest in the sector. More opportunities for students to visit the hospice are planned for the new year.

The team also plans to improve engagement with communities that are sometimes neglected by care providers, for example people who are Deaf and hard of hearing. This includes running British Sign Language (BSL) workshops for Keech staff and volunteers, arranging a BSL-interpreted visit and tours, and a service for telephone calls and face to face conversation with the hospice.