National Compassionate Communities Practice Forum

Expression of Interest

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“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, even to the end of our days.”

- Allan Kellehear, Compassionate Cities Charter 2013

Compassionate Communities is a whole of community approach to end of life support where caring for one another at times of need, loss and/or crisis becomes the task and responsibility of everyone, for each other. With its beginnings in Australia, it is now a growing international and national movement drawing on the work of Professor Allan Kellehear and a growing global network of academics, practitioners and community members.

In 2017 the first national Compassionate Communities Symposium was held in Australia showcasing local and international research and practice. Out of this, the interest for compassionate communities approaches to end of life grew extraordinarily. As such The GroundSwell Project began working on a way to more formally share our experience and to support the growth and capacity of other organisations and people to do this groundbreaking work.

The GroundSwell Project is now proud to offer a new opportunity to support the development of compassionate communities work in Australia through the Compassionate Communities Practice Forum throughout 2018/2019.

Expression of Interest

The GroundSwell Project is inviting expressions of interest from individuals or partnering organisations who are ready to develop compassionate communities work in their local area. This includes local government, schools, hospitals, faith groups, community groups, health services, carers, art centres, PHN’s, palliative care organisations, charities, and aged care facilities.

The chosen community groups (who will be known as GroundBreakers) will receive support from The GroundSwell Project to implement the Compassionate City Charter and help their local community to work together to improve their response to people who are dying and those who have been bereaved.

The action model for the Practice Forum is based on the work of Allan Kellehear outlined in Compassionate Cities (Kellehear, 2005) which is based on the principles of the Ottawa Charter (Kellehear, 1999):

  • Building public policies that support dying, death, loss and grief

  • Creating supportive environments (in particular social supports)

  • Strengthening community action

  • Developing personal skills in these areas, and

  • Re-orientating the health system.

The National Practice Forum will offer:

  • Support to get you started - we can help facilitate your early engagement activities

  • To showcase your community efforts via the ComComHub

  • Networking and support from other  GroundBreaker communities for shared learning and insights

  • Support for your evaluation process

  • Learning support from Holly Rankin Smith, our National Compassionate Communities Lead. This support will focus on place based engagement, community development and collective impact.

  • Access to networks of national and international compassionate communities expert practitioners and researchers.

Please Note: this is not an offer for financial support.

Who Should Apply?

We are interested in hearing from organisations and individuals who can lead projects in their local communities using a public health approach through:

  • Raising awareness and education

  • Community Development

  • Creating ecological changes in our communities

  • Creating new work policies to guide new behaviors

  • Working with professionals in death, dying and grief

These could be approached in various ways, according to what is already happening in your community. Allan Kellear's Compassionate City Charter will be used as a statement of purpose and it contains 13 social actions which might inspire work in each community.

Upon being selected, GroundBreaker Communities will commit to:

1.   Holding a local event to launch the work in their area and engage the wider community to be involved.

2.   Working with organisations and individuals in the community to embed the principles of Compassionate Communities, through raising awareness and changing behaviour.

3.   Being a part of the learning process and be willing to share the learnings with other communities and groups

4.   Support the evaluation of the impact of Compassionate Communities in your local area

5.   Involvement in the research and evaluation of the wider project through a partnership with Western Sydney University

When considering if your organisation should apply to be one of our GroundBreakers in the compassionate communities social movement in Australia, read the following EOI form, consider the commitments above and if it all seems relevant to you and your community, we strongly urge you to apply.

If you would like to discuss your application with our National Compassionate Communities Lead, Holly Rankin Smith, please send an email to make a time to chat: 

Expressions of interest must be submitted by March 31, applicants will be notified mid April.

Please note: The GroundSwell Project is delivering this project in hopes of contributing to the growth of the Compassionate Communities movement across Australia. Although we will be concentrating partnership with 8 communities, we will never close the door on others passionate about the work and we will link in all interested parties and offer guidance and support where we can.


Please note; we are no longer accepting expressions of interest.
We look forward to reviewing submissions over the next week and will be in touch with all applicants as soon as possible.

There will be plenty of opportunities for connection and collaboration as we journey through this process. Please sign up to our newsletter to stay connected.