The Cheerful Little Letter Project
During the COVID-19 pandemic I founded a project matching care home residents with children and families so that they could send them some happy post, spreading cheer and tackling loneliness during lockdown. I wanted to share it with you as it is something I am so happy to have been part of.
When I heard the news about care homes closing their doors to visitors I really wanted to do something to help lift spirits for the residents as it must be so hard not being able to see their families. I make gifts from childrens drawings and I know how much joy they can bring to people! I often get lots of requests with drawings for grandparents and this gave me the idea that sending some lovely cheerful drawings to the residents would spread some joy and happiness to them too! I started by calling our local care home and set up a Facebook group where I was able to match families with the residents of the home.
We have now matched over 1295 residents with letter writers! Its incredible. Everyone has been so kind and so keen to help out and lift peoples spirits. The children have spent so much time on their pictures and letters its been amazing.
The care home staff have told us that the residents absolutely love receiving their letters, one staff member said that delivering the letters was the best part of their day! The families and care homes have been sharing photos of their post on the Facebook group which have included lots of gorgeous cheerful drawings and paintings, crafts and cards, photos and letters about what they have been up to. The project has been especially successful where the resident has been able to reply and a lovely pen friendship has started to form, we have also seen some wonderful replies from the residents including artwork they have made. The responses from the families who have received replies has been so so lovely too and its so nice to see how excited the children have been to hear back. When we received our first reply it made me so emotional, I cried!
Sadly of course it has not all been happy news, as we are all aware many of the coronavirus related deaths have been in care homes and some of the residents we wrote have sadly passed away or have been quite poorly. Care home staff have done an incredible job of looking after their residents while also trying to keep spirits up, and we are very grateful for the pictures and feedback the homes have given us to pass on the the children that wrote to them. The project really has brought so much light to both sides of the story.
The project attracted some media attention and was featured in local news and by the BBC who created this heart warming video including the residents with their letters! I was also asked to speak on radio twice (the most terrifying moments of my life!), featured in HELLO! Magazine and was even awarded a Points of Light Award for my voluntary contribution from Boris Johnson! It was all a bit of a whirlwind but great recognition for the project and for the families that put so much love and care into their letters.
As difficult as the pandemic has been for everyone, it has also brought out the best in people and its has been a great opportunity to teach our little ones about kindness. Extending kindness to others in a situation like this not only helps those who need it, but is also such a great way to lift your own mood and focus on something positive.
Happily some of the care homes are now opening their doors again to visitors which is such lovely news for the residents and their families. We are still matching residents with letter writers as the homes have said they would love to continue to take part. I have also added a second thread to the project where I am now matching children with each other to become pen pals, which is been something really nice for them to focus on especially as so many are missing school and their friends.
If you would like to see what we have been up to or take part you can visit the group here: