Police launch Christmas card appeal to tackle social isolation

PUBLISHED: 17:34 10 December 2019

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Avon and Somerset Constabulary is urging people to reach out to their elderly neighbours who may be in ‘desperate need of comfort and reassurance’ this Christmas.

The force has launched its Christmas Card Appeal after receiving 28,000 calls from people who are lonely, anxious, vulnerable or frightened across a two-week period over the festive season last year.

The initiative is designed to encourage people to give away their unused cards to neighbours to make a difference to those who are alone or socially isolated in the communities they live in.

Head of command and control for Avon and Somerset, Becky Tipper, said: "We ask people to keep an eye on the welfare of elderly and vulnerable neighbours all year round, but especially at Christmas.

"This year we are suggesting that, instead of putting spare Christmas cards back in the box, people use them to reach out to those in their community who might benefit from a friendly greeting.

"It's important to remember that loneliness and isolation can affect anyone of any age and for a huge number of reasons. One small act of kindness can mean so much, and a spare Christmas card could potentially be a lifeline to someone at a time when they need it most."

In the past 12 months, police have received more than 17,000 calls linked to loneliness.

The force is encouraging people to send cards with a friendly note to explain who and where you are and to let neighbours know you are around if they need help.

The force is also encouraging people to say hello to a neighbour when seeing them out and about.

Head of neighbourhoods and partnerships, Will White, said: "Taking the time to get to know your neighbours could ease loneliness and provide a chance to spot something wrong and help to reduce the likelihood of them being victimised by criminals.

"We believe everything starts with 'hello', and by giving a card with a warm message, perhaps even with a telephone number to call in case of a problem, neighbours can show they care."

To watch a video about the initiative, visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/news/2019/12/make-a-spare-card-count-in-reducing-loneliness-this-christmas

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