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Friday, 25 September 2020

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Milwaukee postcard amongst 400 received by Sheffield charity’s popular pen pal scheme

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A pen pal postcard that’s winged its way nearly 4,000 miles around the globe is amongst hundreds received by one of Sheffield’s leading older persons’ charities.

Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) launched its pen pal service early in lockdown when the pandemic forced its popular Good Neighbour Scheme to be put on hold.

Now the charity says it’s received its 400th letter- with generous scribes writing in from as far afield as Worcester and Wiltshire, Bristol and Oldham- and now Milwaukee!

Tammy Wilson, who manages the pen pal scheme at SCCCC, said:

“When lockdown started we were really concerned that our service users would be more lonely and isolated than ever before. Our volunteers were unable to do their usual weekly friendly visits so we wanted to put something else in place – along with telephone support – which could help.

“Everyone loves a handwritten letter, so we put a call out for people to write to our service users. We have been overwhelmed with how many letters and postcards we have received.

“The feedback has been so positive, someone said it made them cry with joy on a bad day, as it made them think that someone was thinking of them and they weren’t alone. New friendships have also flourished, with us now having 18 linked pen pals.

“We are hoping that funding allows us to carry on this scheme after the pandemic ends. It sits so well with our ethos to reduce loneliness and isolation in our community’s older people.”

SCCCC’s Good Neighbour Scheme has 113 volunteers which aim to help the older people enhance their quality of life. The service is provided free of charge with the basic aim of helping to combat loneliness for people over 65 living in Sheffield.

If anyone would like to write to an older person via SCCCC, they can be sent to Pen Pal Scheme, SCCCC, Unit 19 President Buildings, Savile Street East, S4 7UQ, where they will be forwarded on appropriately.

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