From Australia to Downend, with love x

November 26 2019

Cleeve Lodge residents Mary Rich and Margaret Winchester with the postcards.

 Cleeve Lodge residents Mary Rich and Margaret Winchester with the postcards.

 Cleeve Lodge residents Mary Rich and Margaret Winchester with the postcards.

ELDERLY people from a residential home in Downend are receiving postcards from across the world thanks to an innovative scheme which is helping spread joy and combat loneliness.
Men and women at Cleeve Lodge have joined a world-wide Facebook group called Postcards of Kindness which has led to them building relationships not just with people from other homes but also with individuals, including children.
Anyone can sign up to the scheme, pledging to send postcards and asking to receive them too.
The idea is that such a small act of kindness can often make someone's day and can help lift spirits knowing there are people out there who care.
Residents and staff have only been signed up to the initiative a few months and already they have received more than 100 postcards - the furthest being all the way from Australia. Others have arrived from France and Spain, with many from around the UK, including Scotland, Ireland, London and Liverpool.
Staff have even created a special map which shows what parts of world postcards have arrived from and this now takes pride of place at the home.
Any postcards received are collected for a once a week session when staff sit down with residents who read the postcards, and sometimes letters, together.
Residents then choose from a selection of postcards purchased by the home and decide who to write to.
On occasions staff have filmed residents - with their permission - reading the postcards and have posted the footage on both the home's Facebook page and on the Postcards of Kindness group, which has 31,000 members.
Cleeve Lodge manager Risa Jobbins says the scheme is helping transform lives.
“Postcards of Kindness was something I came across on Facebook so I joined the group to find out a bit more about it. When I signed the care home up, our details went into a file which others could access and send postcards. We've had such a great response from it - within a couple of days we received our first postcard.
“There's a wide range of people involved in the scheme, from care homes to schools to individuals.
“Some people send letters with their postcards, which is really nice, and someone even attached a cutting of an article they thought would be of interest. One lady sent us 20 personalised cards to give out to residents with lovely verses written on.”
Some of the homes involved have taken the initiative a step further and have posted on the Facebook group when a resident's birthday is coming up.
Risa said: “They might not have a lot of family but they can end up with over 100 cards! We haven't had any birthdays yet but I think this is something we will also do.”
Already three residents at Cleeve Lodge have found pen pals, including one lady who is now writing to a young boy in Yate.
“The boy's parents filmed him reading a postcard she had sent him and posted it online which meant she could see it. It was wonderful.
“I can't even describe how happy the residents are reading the cards. It lifts them and they look forward to every Wednesday when we go through the cards. The scheme really is touching people's lives, especially people who don't have a lot of family and are on their own.
“Our residents absolutely love it, they think it's so wonderful. The smiles on their faces when they read the postcards are priceless.”
You can find out more about Postcards of Kindness by joining the group of Facebook. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/PostcardsOfKindness/