“During the coronavirus crisis, more of us are isolated and alone than ever before. Physical mail is the language of sincerity,” believes Dr Amy Pollard, founder of The Mental Health Collective, the not-for-profit organisation that has recently launched Kindness-by-Post, which could see up to a million strangers from across the UK exchanging greeting cards with messages of goodwill.
Amy likens the Kindness-by-Post exchange to “a great big secret Santa for random acts of kindness. Members of the public sign up to send a card or letter with a message of goodwill, and are allocated a person to send some kindness to them.”
This Friday (May 1) is the deadline for people to sign up (it’s free of charge) via the website (https://www.kindnessbypost.org/) in order to participate in this round of sending greeting cards and letters to people in the UK we don’t know in order to improve the mental health, reduce the loneliness and instil a sense of belonging.
The whole idea for Kindness-by-Post (and The Mental Health Collective) is directly linked to Amy’s own personal experience of how her spirits were lifted by receiving a greeting card from someone she hardly knew.
In 2016, having been sectioned on mental health grounds, it was receiving a Get Well card from a neighbour that really hit home.
“The power of receiving that physical card from someone in the community with their handwritten words meant so much,” recalls Amy. “Receiving a card or letter that you do not expect has such a positive effect on your self-esteem,” she adds.
Amy’s beliefs have been verified by the findings of a brand new research project undertaken the University College London (UCL). “The research study, undertaken in February, measured people’s level of hope, loneliness, well-being and sense of belonging, before and after they received a greeting card through Kindness-by-Post, and all measures improved after receiving the card,” Amy told PG Buzz.
A video, voiced by Amy, is hosted on YouTube which sums up the crux of this special project. Click here to watch it…
While the theme of this month’s card and letter writing Kindness-by-Post project is on the theme of encouragement, Amy explains that subsequent themes could be gratitude or hope, reflective of the psyche of the nation at the time.
While run on a shoestring, thanks to the support of website experts OpenCredo who provided the work on the online platform free of charge, the Kindness-by-Post site has been built for scale, able to accommodate up to a million senders/receivers.
Amy and her colleagues are now holding out the hand of friendship and opportunity to those in the greeting card industry for partnership and sponsorship opportunities as well as spreading the word through promoting the initiative on social media channels.
“Kindness-by-Post is a real movement of connection and hope, lots of people doing a little bit to help others feel better by sending cards and letters.
Kindness-by-Post follows a few months after the Mental Health Collective’s #GreatBritishValentine activity which saw participants send each other homemade Valentine’s cards with messages of goodwill (not for romantic reasons).
Top: Kindness-by-Post is seeing people sending and receiving cards of encouragement to people they do not know.