Post-box love for lonely Britons

LONDON (AFP) – Big-hearted Britons have penned thousands of uplifting messages to be delivered to single seniors on Valentine’s Day in a project aimed at alleviating loneliness.

The letters and cards were written in recent weeks and left in 10 models of old-fashioned red post-boxes set up in locations across London and several other cities.

Red Letter Days, a gift experience company which came up with the idea, dispatched the messages to needy elderly recipients in selected care homes yesterday.

“I said, ‘You are loved, you are appreciated, you are cherished,’” Shivanee Pattni, a 26-year-old marketing manager, told AFP after scribbling a note at a box in her central London workplace on Tuesday.

“I think it’s great,” she added. “It’s nice that someone’s thinking of them.”

The scheme is being run with the help of shared-office provider WeWork, which is hosting seven of the boxes in the lobbies of some of its locations.

The company, which has more than 40,000 members in Britain, has been advertising the opportunity to workspace users through its app and in-house mailing list.

WeWork’s community director in Britain Ross Grieve said the response from members had been “incredible” since the boxes first went up two weeks ago, with several left overflowing by the volume of responses.

The project also has the support of the Campaign to End Loneliness, which estimates there are nine million lonely people in Britain – four million of them older people.

“We really wanted to support this because it gets people thinking about the lonely and isolated people that might be in their life,” said Daniel Pattison from the campaign.

At the bustling WeWork hub near Holborn in central London, a steady trickle of wellwishers continued to stop by the red post-box this week to deposit messages.

“It’s a very great initiative,” said Jamal Khan, 41, a tax consultant. “People need to know that they’re loved… to appreciate that they’re not alone.”