People across Lancashire are being encouraged to do their bit to help reduce loneliness amongst older people over the festive period by sending a Christmas card to residents of a local care home.

The campaign is now in its second year and runs both at Christmas and over the summer, with the latter focussing on summer holiday postcards. More than 100 care homes have signed up to take part this year.

As well as being something nice to receive in the post, a Christmas card helps to initiate conversations among the residents and bring back happy memories as well as providing a connection to the local community.

Research shows that these conversations have many health benefits, particularly for people who are feeling lonely or isolated, or living with dementia.

Talib Yaseen, Executive Director of Transformation for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “Cards for Kindness is a wonderful initiative encouraging community spirit through the simple act of writing and sending a Christmas card.

It is a great example of local people, health and care, councils and community organisations across Lancashire working together to tackle an important social issue. There was great feedback from residents of care homes last year about how the cards helped to initiate conversations, sharing of memories and positive feelings among residents in the care homes and we hope for more of the same this festive period.”

Lancashire County Councillor Joan Burrows, champion for older people, said:

“Christmas is a happy time for many, but can also be a very lonely time, particularly for people living in care homes. Loneliness can have a terrible effect on their mental and physical health, but if you have some spare Christmas cards, stamps and five minutes to spare, you can make a real difference to people’s lives.

“Residents discuss the cards they’ve received and talk about their memories of Christmas and their families and friends, which helps them build connections between each other and feel less lonely.”

Residents from Bowgreave Rise Home for Older People in Garstang enjoyed receiving cards last year, they told us: “It is so nice to think somebody is thinking of us” and “It is really kind that people do this for us to make us smile.”

National figures from Age UK show that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month, and that 60% of people in care homes get no visitors at all.

Those sending Christmas cards are encouraged to share their experience on social media using #CardsForKindness.

To find out more information or to download resources to promote the campaign please visit www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CardsForKindness