This government initiative is a reminder that some people are still shielding and isolated at home, and may well be feeling lonely. We can all reach out and write a letter, so why not? Let us know how you get on.
to help loneliness
Baroness Barran, the Loneliness Minister (something of an indictment of our society that we need one) is encouraging the public to reach out to friends, family and neighbours who are elderly or otherwise clinically vulnerable. This includes those who are pregnant, aged 70 or older or with an underlying health condition.
The Government says:
This builds on the Prime Minister’s announcement last week that single adult households – those living alone or single parents with children under 18 – can now form a “support bubble” with one other household, meaning they can visit and stay overnight. This move will particularly support those who live by themselves, who are lonely and struggling with being unable to see friends and family.
As part of the #Let’sTalkLoneliness campaign, which launched a year ago today, the Government is offering helpful advice to tackle loneliness, such as ways to reach out to someone who might be feeling lonely, how to volunteer safely, joining an online group, and signposting to sources of support.
A government partnership with the Post Office and Royal Mail will see a “Let’s Talk Loneliness” postmark stamped on most letters delivered during Loneliness Awareness Week (15-19 June), to raise awareness of loneliness and help tackle the stigma.
To mark the week, the Loneliness Minister will also be writing letters to check in on friends and family, and is encouraging the public to do the same and make connections. This follows new research from the Royal Mail which shows that nearly three quarters of people (74%) feel that writing letters has positive mental health benefits.
Minister for Loneliness, Baroness Barran, said:
The last few months have brought loneliness to the forefront of our minds. We all have a role in being kind and looking out for each other, and as some of us begin to regain some normality we cannot forget those who may need to stay at home for longer and could be at risk of feeling lonely.
Writing letters might be a slightly forgotten art but it’s more important than ever to connect with people, and putting pen to paper is an excellent way of making sure our friends, family and neighbours know we’re thinking about them.
David Gold, Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Royal Mail, said:
Handwritten correspondence is a very powerful way of connecting and showing someone close that you care; particularly during these difficult and sometimes isolating times. Keeping the nation connected is of vital importance to us, so we’re delighted to partner with the Government on this initiative.
Nick Read, Chief Executive of the Post Office, said:
Loneliness can have serious impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing. As a business, we are all about keeping people connected and there are so many ways to keep in touch with friends and family today. Letters can add a real personal touch and make someone’s day. We are stronger together and community has never been as important as it is now.
The Tackling Loneliness Network, a group of high-profile charities, businesses, organisations and public figures, will have their inaugural meeting this week to explore initiatives to connect groups at risk of loneliness and isolation, encourage individuals and organisations to take practical actions, and consider how to sustain the good community nature from the coronavirus outbreak. The group was convened by the Government in collaboration with the Connection Coalition, organised by the Jo Cox Foundation.