Meet our volunteers – Silvana Talbot

Silvana Talbot – Compassionate Neighbour

My role as a compassionate neighbour is to visit people with life-limiting illnesses in their home, to have a chat and help them with practical things, like taking them to get a haircut. It’s offering companionship to people who are feeling a bit low and a bit lonely. I just have to give an hour or two of my time and company to make these connections that mean a lot to people.  

I used to be an advocacy manager at a charity in Barnet, helping vulnerable older people getting access to care and housing. The thing with advocacy is, you have your targets of how long it takes to close a case, so once you’ve solved their problem, it’s bittersweet because you’ve lost your connection to that person.  

I was also inspired to become a compassionate neighbour by my grandmother. She had cancer, and she was living up in Scotland, whilst I’m down in London. She started going to a community group, meeting people and making crafts, and I saw the difference it made to her, that someone, somewhere else, had forged this connection with her. 

I’ve got to meet some great and interesting people; you hear so many great stories. I just really like meeting people and getting to know them. There’s also the feeling that you’re doing something for someone, especially for people who are so conscious of being a burden on others. There are so many nice memories you can make within your community. 

There are, understandably, quite strict rules in place about safeguarding, but the training equipped me to just get out and go. You’re trusted to get on with it, but you’re also supported in what you do by the hospice. If you have time to volunteer, do it. You’re so appreciated and supported, and you get to meet so many lovely people.