Compassionate Communities coming to Newcastle

The Newcastle community has been chosen by The Groundswell Project to be one of eight “Groundbreakers” groups establishing Compassionate Communities across Australia. 

The aging population within Australia is predicted to double by the year 2050.  To meet the immense need of this aging population significant change in support structures for the community who live with life threatening or life limiting illness, their caregivers, and the bereaved are needed. 

“The GroundSwell Project are very excited to have Newcastle as part of the National Compassionate Communities Forum. Newcastle is known as a caring, resourceful community with a long history of successful partnerships across sectors of the community. It's these features that really made Newcastle a stand out choice to be part of this.” Said Holly Rankin Smith-Compassionate Communities National Lead Groundswell Project. 

The Compassionate Communities movement is global and looks different in every community because it's about being very responsive to the needs and gaps identified by each community and building on the strengths. Ms Rankin Smith and Jessie Williams, Executive Compassionate Communities Australia will meet with the Newcastle Compassionate Communities Collaboration today to introduce them to the methodology and help plan an approach to the wiser community. 

“There's no one cookie-cutter model that will fit everywhere. We are here to listen to the Newcastle community about what their priorities are for improving end of life care and support and to help work out the steps to make Newcastle a Compassionate City! The success of this movement lies in whole-community involvement. This is no longer just a job for palliative care staff, hospices and hospitals.” Ms Rankin Smith said. 

The Newcastle Compassionate Communities Collaboration is a rapidly expanding cohort of interested community members involved in this project, including members of Renew Newcastle, Cancer Council NSW, University of Newcastle Faculty of Health and Medicine, Newcastle Grief Collective, End of Life Care Services, John Hunter Hospital, Department of Palliative Care, Calvary Mater Newcastle, HNECC Primary Health Network, NGOs and various other independent community members.  

The first step is to plan a forum for October, which will be open to all community to come together and hear about the issues and plan our community response,” said Jeanette Lacey, interim chair of the Newcastle Compassionate Communities Collaboration. 

“To meet the increasing need as our population ages we need a public health approach. That's what this forum is all about, exploring the possibilities of this movement in different social and geographical settings across Australia so we can learn from the successes and challenges and encourage other communities to come together and reclaim responsibility to live well right up until the end of our days. I'm excited to see what Newcastle brings to the forum.” said Ms Rankin Smith.