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Birmingham is the UK’s first accredited Compassionate City

The people of Birmingham have been recognised for their compassion in the way communities have supported each other during some of the most difficult times, by being crowned the UK’s first Compassionate City on the 14 March 2022.

Accredited by Compassionate Communities UK, the key to gaining this recognition is bringing together all areas of the local community, including Birmingham City Council, NHS, schools, cultural organisations and employers, to provide support, space, togetherness and understanding for those undergoing the experiences of death, dying, loss and caregiving.

The Compassionate City title is part of an international movement with the participation of cities worldwide. The purpose is to build compassion as a major value of life across all sectors of civic society, putting kindness at the heart of health and care strategies in all parts of society.

Although Birmingham is already recognised as a Healthy City, community leaders sought to secure the Compassionate City title to bolster its commitment towards people who are grieving, living with a serious illness and caregivers.

Members of the Compassionate City Birmingham Network came together at the Library of Birmingham to celebrate the achievement and invite others to get involved. This was also an opportunity to acknowledge the compassion and kindness of the city’s residents, and for people to share the good news.

Dame Yve Buckland, Designate Chair of the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System, said: “I am delighted that Birmingham is the first city in the UK to become a Compassionate City. As we move to become an Integrated Care System, we will carry our commitment to the Compassionate City Charter and continue to ensure that Birmingham is a city where people and communities can truly flourish.”

Dr Julian Abel, Director of Compassionate Communities UK, said: “Death, dying, loss and caregiving affects us all. We care for people close to us many times in our lives and we also face our own death. How we die, how we grieve, is affected deeply by the people around us. This is why it is important to understand that everyone can contribute and help, whether this be in our schools, our workplaces, our places of worship, our neighbourhoods and all of the other civic parts of lives. 

“This accreditation is more important now than ever before as people are still recovering from a global pandemic. Nothing shows more support than the community coming together to combat loneliness and ensuring that people know they are not isolated, especially during the difficult moments of death, dying, loss and caregiving.”

The Compassionate City Birmingham Network is keen for businesses, schools, community organisations and individuals to get involved in future events and initiatives.

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