By Andy Hirst
A project that brings happiness into people’s lives by sending letters or artwork to them has gone global.
Give … A Few Words was set up in Huddersfield during the pandemic to give lonely and isolated people – especially those in care homes – a nice surprise through the post.
But now they have started to arrive in Huddersfield from people in Mexico and the USA.
The reason is that Huddersfield speciality chemicals company Lubrizol has six sites across the UK along with ones in Mexico, Canada and five other states in the USA.
The company holds a special day called Building Global Bonds Day in September and with many Covid restrictions still in place the Give…A Few Words letter writing project was a perfect virtual way for the company’s staff to volunteer.
And that’s why the letters have suddenly started to arrive in Huddersfield.
Chris Hart-Jones from the Lubrizol site on Leeds Road in Huddersfield became involved with Give … A Few Words last December, organising for some of their UK employees to send cards and letters for people to receive in care homes and charities on Christmas Day.
Lubrizol spokeswoman Claire Hollingshurst said: “They really enjoyed this activity and we wanted to keep helping this fantastic project.
“We love how the project brings people together, reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness and as an organisation how it brings our employees together as a team. From a diversity and cultural viewpoint it means that worldwide we can share many different perspectives.
“People can research hobbies or interests that are mostly UK centric. We also support each other in our writing and have a bit of camaraderie between writers. It’s really enjoyable.
“I wrote one myself about two of my favourite things, Liverpool FC and Westlife. I also did a little extra research and found out things I didn’t know. It’s good for everyone’s wellbeing.
“It’s such a simple concept too which is accessible for everyone to get involved with. All you need is a pen and paper or a computer.”
Give … A Few Words was originally set up in Covid times as a community organisation but proved so popular that in March this year it became a social enterprise and community interest company in its own right with the support of Locala Health and Wellbeing and One Community foundation, an organisation which provides grants for small charities and community organisations.
Give … A Few Words founder Sharron Wilkinson said: “We are absolutely delighted that Lubrizol employees have got involved with our letter writing project once again. The support and empathy from their team in Huddersfield and across their UK sites was incredible at Christmas time.
“When the first letter popped in this week with photos from an employee in Mexico it brought a huge smile to our team checking the letters. We cannot wait to hear what a difference these letters will make to people’s days when they land on the doorstep of our local care homes and charities.”
She said people can be as creative as they want, adding: “It could be words and a letter if that’s your thing or possibly a painting, drawing, your favourite poem, song lyrics or some arts and crafts – if they can fit in an envelope. Maybe a postcard from somewhere you have been to or an uplifting photograph. Every letter we receive makes a huge difference to someone else.”
Lubrizol and Give … A Few Words are already planning to write more letters this December.
Claire added: “As a company it’s nice to know that we can reach out and let people who may have limited social contact know that there is someone out there who is thinking about them and wishing them well.
“Give … A Few Words is a fantastic organisation and the letter writing project is such an easy way for us to make a difference in our community.”
Employees from other local businesses and organisations writing for Give … A Few Words include Cummins Turbo Technologies, Locala, Healthwatch, Ramsdens Solicitors, Greenhead College, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield Live, Hive Community, Curious Creative Club, Inspiration Computers and Mirfield Rotary Club.
Ballcraft Engravers in Almondbury and Almondbury Co-op have a red post-box where people can post letters they write for Give … A Few Words.
Sixteen members of a group on Merseyside called Liverpool City Region Women Together which empowers and inspires women in that area is writing letters to a care home and keyworkers in Huddersfield.
Sharron will be at Mirfield Co-op over lunchtime on Wednesday, October 6 talking about the project.
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.