One Letter, One Smile

In Covid 19 vol news, Team challenge by Nina Porter

One Letter, One Smile is a volunteer opportunity for everyday writers and artists to reach out to older people who feel isolated by writing an individual letter.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak we are looking for Pen pals to write to older, vulnerable people that are feeling lonely and isolated. Many people over the age of 70 are at a greater risk of developing mental health issues. They have the pressure of increased health anxiety, combined with a lack of regular social contact.  Some local charities and public services have identified older people who are no longer able to participate in the social activities they provided and as a result may be at risk of isolation. To help maintain a sense of community connection for these older people and to brighten their days, we are looking for Volunteer Pen pals to write a letter for each of these clients.

The letters can be handwritten or typed (ideally in a reasonably large font size). You can write about whatever is of interest. Some ideas include the following (however please feel free to use your own ideas):

  • yourself and your household – how you are dealing with the impact of Covid-19
  • your plans for the future
  • books or TV shows you are enjoying/have enjoyed
  • tips on passing the time – simple recipes/gardening ideas/gentle exercises
  • If you have children, then please encourage them to provide a drawing or a short letter or poem to be included. Or if you are an artist, feel free to include a drawing of your own.

Please send letters/drawings to: admin@varb.org.uk. (Either scan/photograph handwritten letters or send as an email attachment).

Please note your letters will be read by a volunteer or staff member from Voluntary Action Reigate & Banstead before being distributed to older clients. We recommend you do not include a postal address. However, if you would be happy to receive a response, please include your full name. If the recipient of your letter wishes to respond, then we will arrange this via email.

Writing a single letter would be great and would lift the spirits of an older person. If you have time and feel able to make a longer term commitment then a weekly letter would be lovely, until regular social activities can resume.