Community engagement in palliative care is where the very best quality services come together and work with the local community to bring new skills, assets and capacity to the work of supporting children and families.

When a family is faced with their child’s diagnosis of a life-shortening condition, the range of formal services available can sometimes hide the need for informal support with everyday jobs like housework and taking siblings to school. These are tasks that people from their local community, including relatives, friends and neighbours could help with and are often the things that are forgotten by professionals caring for the family.

Informal support can have benefits beyond the actual task. It can help stop children and families from living in a “bubble” of professional care and promote wider social support as well as breaking down the social awkwardness and anxiety that some families can experience. They can also help to bridge social or cultural divides and begin to challenge the social awkwardness, stigma, anxiety and fear we know some families can experience.