Compassionate Communities Hub

A city is not merely a place to work and access services but equally a place to enjoy support in the safety and protection of each other’s company, in schools, workplaces, places of worship and recreation, in cultural forums and social networks anywhere within the city’s influence, even to the end of our days.
— Allan Kellehear, The Compassionate City Charter

With Australia’s ageing population set to double by 2050, the end of life system in Australia requires collaborative action from health organisations, NGO’s, community groups and individuals in order to see sustainable change. Compassionate Communities (ComCom) is a global movement for public health practice, a way to engage communities to think about how care is provided to people who are dying.

Learnings from the ComCom movement internationally show that a collective, community approach to end of life acts to extend existing services, empower communities to action and has the power to transform the end of life experience for individuals and their families.

Building upon the Compassionate Communities Symposium in 2017, The GroundSwell Project is proud to announce their next contribution to the movement in Australia, by launching the National Compassionate Communities Forum (NCCF).

The NCCF is a unique initiative designed to build the capacity across health, end of life services and communities to do this work.  A key outcome will be the development of National Guidelines for the implementation of a Compassionate Communities framework for Australia. 

The NCCF will comprise of eight groups around the country, engaging in the ComCom model in their local area. The GroundSwell Project will support these groups by offering on-the-ground community development expertise, a digital resource hub plus access to a national and international network of leading Compassionate Communities practitioners and researchers and other learning opportunities.
The forum will be complimented with a research element through partnership with Western Sydney University to amplify and share our ComCom learnings with the intention of furthering the movement in Australia.

What is Compassionate Communities?

With its beginnings in Australia, ComCom is now a growing international and national movement drawing on the work of Professor Allan Kellehear and a growing network of academics, practitioners and community members. Read Allan Kellehears Compassionate City Charter here.

Despite everyone's best efforts, existing models of providing care and support has done little to reduce the problems of social isolation, carer burden, stigma and fear at end of life. Adopting a whole of community approach where formal and informal care networks come together to provide support, is a complementary approach which has proven to have a huge impact on issues of isolation, carer burden as well as developing community capacity and connection in the process. 

In Compassionate Communities, citizens are encouraged to engage and become more informed about death, dying, loss and care and adapt their practices and behaviour to be active in supporting those at end of life. Services and local authorities play a significant role in providing and sustaining quality end of life care, but people from all walks of life should be involved in designing suitable end of life care policies that meet their needs (Source).

A wonderful example of the success of a Compassionate Community in the UK was recently shared; 
"What this provisional data appears to show is that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly."
Read the Guardian article here.


If you have further questions, check out our FAQ's 


How can I join the National Compassionate Communities Forum?

We will be accepting expressions of interest until March 31 and announcing the 8 community groups mid April.

There will still be a level of support and opportunities for involvement for communities who do not end up as part of the 8 so we encourage all interested groups to apply.

Sign up for project updates HERE


The founding supporter of this initiative is Bupa Health & Care

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