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Popular pen pal initiative relaunched to help stamp out loneliness

PUBLISHED: 07:27 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 08:45 09 November 2020

Community life reporter Donna-Louise Bishop, is relaunching the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Community life reporter Donna-Louise Bishop, is relaunching the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A popular initiative to connect people and help combat loneliness and isolation has been relaunched amid another national lockdown due to coronavirus.

Keeping in touch as Donna-Louise Bishop launches the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYKeeping in touch as Donna-Louise Bishop launches the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News are reviving our Here to Help: Not Alone pen friend appeal - an offshoot of our main Here to Help campaign , in association with Norfolk County Council.

As a result, we are asking for more generous individuals to volunteer their time and write letters to those who may find themselves lonely during these unprecedented times.

The project is being overseen by community life reporter Donna-Louise Bishop, and the idea is to make sure that as many people as possible do not feel alone during this time.

She said: “Last time we launched the Here to Help: Not Alone pen friend campaign, we heard from hundreds of people from East Anglia and around the globe - from as far as Australia, America, and Japan.

Here are some of the faces of the people who signed up to become Here to Help: Not Alone pen friends earlier this year. Picture: Anne Jones/Hannah Hopkins/Nicola Brown/ Submitted/Adam WilsonHere are some of the faces of the people who signed up to become Here to Help: Not Alone pen friends earlier this year. Picture: Anne Jones/Hannah Hopkins/Nicola Brown/ Submitted/Adam Wilson

“We managed to connect more than 1,000 people, including individuals writing to residents in care homes, families sharing stories with people living on their own, and even children forming long-lasting friendships via the medium of writing and drawing.

“This time we want to try and keep morale high by making sure no one feels alone during these uncertain times.

“Here to Help: Not Alone is all about steering the focus towards positive mental health and wellbeing and counteracting the effects of social isolation.”

We are mostly asking for people to come forward if they are willing to write letters to care home residents - this could also include poems, stories, cards and drawings.

Norfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: ArchantNorfolk Here to Help campaign logo. Picture: Archant

We are also looking for people who want to send or email letters to each other and we will try our best to match correspondents.

Perhaps you are a school looking for a new project for pupils to get involved with in the classroom? Or a care home manager whose residents would benefit from hearing from different voices in the community? Whatever your situation, we want to hear from you.

- Email Donna-Louise.Bishop@archant.co.uk with the header “Here to Help: Not Alone”, your contact details, the type of involvement you would like to have, and the preference of person or group you would like to write to and/or hear from.

- Follow updates on the Facebook groups Norfolk Coronavirus Updates and Coronavirus in Norfolk: Support and Advice .

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