The Kindness PostboxWhat started life as a volunteer-led project to connect school children with care home residents during the pandemic, has since grown into a wide-reaching international venture. Based in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, the project encourages children to create colourful drawings, letters, artworks, poems and messages, then pop them into the Kindness Postbox. Volunteers collect the Postbox, sort the mail and deliver it to local care home residents, vulnerable or marginalised members of the community.

Local Men’s Sheds are also encouraged to get involved, by building the Postboxes. More recently, the project has been used to welcome refugees into new communities and send mail and items to children in Ukraine and other affected areas. The first permanent Kindness Postbox has just been installed at Enniskillen’s local hospital in the children's A&E department. And the volunteers have set the Kindness Postbox up as a model which can now be adapted and used by others.

Their new ‘StorySwap’ initiative sees school children write half a story, which is then brought to care homes where volunteers sit with residents to help them finish it. This is followed by a visit to the care home where the children and residents hear their finished stories. Stories are then printed in a small book for the children to keep, and as part of the residents ‘memory box’, given to families after elderly relatives have passed away.

“It encourages creativity and creates intergenerational friendships,” says volunteer organiser Nuala O'Toole. “As John, a resident from Galgorm Care Home put it: ‘to think someone out there is thinking of me, someone I don't know, lifts my heart and does me so much good.’ 

“Since we launched we have established 58 partnerships in Northern Ireland, 60+ Kindness Postboxes delivering mail weekly in England, one in Dublin, one in Scotland and one in Australia. We provide our partners with everything they need to start up a Kindness Postbox in their area and we are continually evolving and adapting to suit the needs of those most affected in our society.”

You can find out more via their website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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