A woman from Lancashire has organised a letter sending campaign to help combat loneliness in the community.

The letters are designed by children throughout Halton, posted into a specially designated post box, and hand delivered to older people throughout the village.

She hopes that the idea might inspire other communities to look out for each other and start a conversation with those who may not have spoken to many people over the past year.

READ MORE: Mum 'bringing little bit of joy' to lonely neighbours with box in her garden

Sam Pritchard, 39, is an account manager from Halton. She is also the coordinator of the village's Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, which started during lockdown.

The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme outlined three objectives to meet in 2021 - one of them was combatting loneliness, especially considering Halton's ageing population.

They began by doing monthly litter picks and encouraging residents to join for a cup of tea afterwards. They have also hosted Easter Trails in the community.

Sam told LancsLive that around seven years ago she was inspired to attempt to do one random act of kindness a day.

In the process, she found out about an American initiative called 'The World Needs More Love Letters' which provides participants with a little bit of information about a recipient in need of a moment to make their day.

Taking inspiration from the global initiative, Sam said it would be "great" if the children of Halton who "love drawing" could create cards for as many residents as possible to help them feel less lonely.

After receiving a grant from the Parish Council, Sam installed a post box at the Halton Community Centre to make it "extra special" for the children hoping to send a letter.

The special post box is a designated delivery point for 'Cards Fighting Loneliness' which is collected every Friday at noon.

The post box is a designated delivery point for 'Cards Fighting Loneliness' which is collected every Friday at noon.
The post box is a designated delivery point for 'Cards Fighting Loneliness' which is collected every Friday at noon.

Sam hopes that in the coming months, the delivery point can be repurposed as a space for children to send letters to Father Christmas too.

Sam provides writing participants with a 'volunteer pack' of blank cards and stamps. On the back of the cards, it is clear that the hand-delivered cards are part of a campaign to prevent any worries older residents may have.

Whilst the initiative is in its "infancy", Sam said that a local primary school had already taken 60 cards for the children to decorate and has had several interactions with residents "moved" by the delivery.

Sam told LancsLive that she spent an hour chatting to a recipient on the doorstep as they had barely spoken to anyone in the past 18 months. One man who had recently lost his wife was also moved to tears when Sam delivered a letter to him personally.

"It's about starting a conversation and engaging with each other," Sam said, "it's a really nice thing to do and can only be good."

Sam also pointed out that the "act of giving" is beneficial for the wellbeing of children too, as well as helping older residents who may be feeling lonely.

Three cards designed by children in Halton which have been hand-delivered to residents in the community.
Three cards designed by children in Halton which have been hand-delivered to residents in the community.

The Campaign to End Loneliness reports that in total, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes or often lonely in England - this equates to 25million people.

The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is also set to reach two million by 2025/26, in comparison to 1.4million in 2016/17.

As the campaign in Halton is said to be "escalating really quickly", Sam hopes that if one person finds the campaign and decides to "try anything or do something" the more people communities can reach, the better.

Whilst Sam's campaign is Halton based, those who hope to organise something similar for their own community are encouraged to visit Fighting Loneliness - One Village At A Time where Sam is keen to share the details of how to get a post box and organise the distribution of letters.

For those with children in Halton hoping to design a card and share a message with other residents, they are also encouraged to contact the page, as well as those hoping to nominate a recipient.

Sam said: "Even if one person receives a letter and one person's day is made, it will all be worth it."

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