Lancashire Adult Learning and Nelson and Colne College have helped create and deliver more than 500 Christmas greetings this festive season through the Cards for Kindness initiative.
A scheme to reduce loneliness among older people this festive season has been launched across the county by Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, following a similar Postcards for Kindness initiative developed by Lancashire County Council in the summer.
LAL and NCC were keen to be involved in supporting the idea, with children and parents in LAL’s Family Learning sessions creating and signing the greeting cards, and NCC students also helping write and then deliver them to residents of care homes across Lancashire.
Kind-hearted visitors to the LAL and NCC Festive Market also took part, decorating cards and adding their own messages to support the worthy cause.
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.
Director of Curriculum at Lancashire Adult Learning Andy Parkin said: “Tackling loneliness and isolation among older people is a key priority for Lancashire Adult Learning, and we look to help wherever and whenever we can.
“After the success of Lancashire County Council’s Postcards for Kindness initiative over the summer, we jumped at the chance to get involved as it is a fantastic way of adding a little festive cheer to the lives of people in the run up to Christmas.
“It is truly heart-warming and it has been wonderful to see the photos of people receiving their cards during the festive period.”
Sumaiya Sufi, Quality Improvement and Safety Specialist – Health and Residential Settings, at Lancashire County Council said: “Loneliness is a growing problem among older people in Lancashire, and in care homes it can be a particularly difficult issue to resolve.
“I’m thrilled to see that Lancashire Adult Learning and Nelson and Colne College have chosen to support the initiative and I’ve been overwhelmed with the array of colours, designs and textures of the cards – which will be of real benefit to residents, and in particular those who are living with dementia.”
County Councillor Joan Burrows, Lancashire County Council’s 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.”
As well as Lancashire Adult Learning’s targeted delivery and partnership work, it also offers a huge range of planned provision across the Red Rose County through its publicly advertised programme, from Arts and Crafts to Humanities classes, Languages to Health and Wellbeing sessions and Functional Skills English and Maths and Employability courses.
In February, Lancashire Adult Learning was named as the national Adult and Community Learning Provider of the Year winner at the Tes FE Awards.
Further information about Lancashire Adult Learning can be found at www.lal.ac.uk or by calling 0333 003 1717.