Isabelle, 9, first to ‘Send a Smile’ to older people

A nine-year-old girl has become the first person to send handmade post to older people as part of a charity plan to cut loneliness in Wetherby.

Isabelle Pickard dusted off her paints and paper to create a nature inspired scene which will now be sent to one of hundreds of older people supported by Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE).

The young artist was inspired to get involved in WiSE’s ‘Send a Smile’ scheme by her mum, who regularly works with isolated, older people in her role as a domestic assistant.

Isabelle’s mum, Kerry said: “I found the ‘Send a Smile’ scheme on Facebook, so I read the post to Isabelle and explained what it involved – she was really keen! So much so she went into the kitchen straightaway to lay her paint and paper out.

“I think Isabelle has been inspired by my job as a self-employed domestic assistant for older people. During the school holidays, she often comes with me and enjoys talking to them while I work. They love her company. She plays dominoes and drafts with one of my 95-year-old ladies, and they thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. 

“The Send a Smile scheme is great. These days older people often get forgotten about or live alone, so this scheme will bring brightness to a very long day. My clients often tell me it’s so lonely on your own, and to hear from people of all ages is really important to them.”

WiSE’s ‘Send A Smile’ scheme aims to cut feelings of isolation and loneliness by asking people to spare 10 minutes to send an older person some handmade post.

The charity has launched the initiative as part of its wider efforts to support older people in Wetherby and its surrounding villages- with loneliness known to contribute to many other health related issues.

The charity has been sent at least 15 pieces of correspondence in the first week since it launched.

Melody Mills, Send a Smile Scheme Coordinator, said: “It is absolutely heart-warming to see the community backing our postal campaign. We’re really proud that a child has sent the first one in – Isabelle is a superstar! We can’t wait to send them to older people and brighten their day.”

To get involved, make a card, draw a picture or write a letter and send it to the charity at: Send a Smile Scheme,Wetherby in Support of the Elderly, The One Stop Centre, Westgate, Wetherby, LS22 6NL. The charity will then forward the post an isolated older person.

Alternatively, if you are an older person and would like to sign up to receive the post, email or phone 01937 588994. Relatives or friends can also sign up of behalf of a person over 60.

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