Cards for Kindness sees communities pull together to tackle care home loneliness
A popular heart-warming winter campaign encouraging people to send Christmas cards to residents in local care homes is launching today (Thursday 1 December).
Now in its fifth year, the popular Cards for Kindness campaign aims to tackle loneliness and isolation in care homes across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Taking part in Cards for Kindness is simple. All you need is a Christmas card and postage stamp and you can write a message for residents in your local care home to help spread the festive cheer. There is more information about how to get involved at lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/news-and-media/campaigns/cards-kindness
The campaign grows each year and this year even more community groups are taking part, designing their own homemade cards.
Activities are being run by Cub, Scout, Brownie and Guide groups, schools and Lancashire Adult Learning among many. Sessions are also being run at Lancashire County Council’s libraries.
Last year, thousands of cards were received by residents and staff in our care homes, bringing festive cheer and goodwill to care home residents – and this year, cards will also be popped in with Christmas foodbank parcels to share the festive messages.
The idea is that everyone likes to be thought of at Christmas time and for some people, opening the Christmas card helps to start conversations and bring back happy memories. Research shows that these conversations can have many benefits and reduce loneliness, particularly for people living with dementia.
There are more than 13,600 people in care homes across Lancashire and South Cumbria, and reducing loneliness is a crucial part of improving their physical and mental wellbeing. Figures show that living in isolation can have a similar effect on our health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “At Christmas, staff in the hundreds of care homes in Lancashire do a tremendous job organising activities to ensure residents can socialise and connect with each other. However, loneliness is still a big issue for people living in our care homes who do not have visits from friends family and loved ones.
“Campaigns like this are absolutely crucial to tackling loneliness and isolation. Last year, cards were sent from as far away as Vienna and I hope lots of people will take part this year.
“Taking part is easy, just add a few words about something that makes you feel happy at this time of year to your card, address it to care home residents and pop it in the post! Although you can post a ready-made card, using your creative skills to design your own card is a great way to spread festive cheer. You could illustrate any happy festive memory that shows what the season means to you. This could be anything from pulling on a favourite Christmas jumper to watching a movie on a rainy winter afternoon.”
Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “Cards for Kindness is a wonderful way to spread a little Christmas spirit by sending a festive greetings card to people living in our local care homes. The impact of the pandemic and the isolation that many residents, staff and families endured makes the Cards for Kindness campaign even more important this year and I hope lots of people across our communities will take part in this simple but important activity.”
Almost 200 care homes and day centres have signed up to Cards for Kindness so far this year.
Addresses of all the care homes involved and instructions on how to take part are available at: lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/news-and-media/campaigns/cards-kindness.
Those sending Christmas cards are encouraged to share their experience on social media using #CardsForKindness.