Letterbox Project bringing joy to residents of aged care homes

Originally Published by: Daily Liberal

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Mea Campbell is the heart and soul behind the nation-wide Letterbox Project.

Under the project, letters handwritten from people of all ages are received, and sent to recipients in retirement villages across Australia.

"I started the project at the very start of COVID-19 as a way to help the elderly residents in retirement villages to stay connected and to help them feel valuable and visible," Mrs Campbell said.

"There's something special about handwritten letters. They are unique and they take time and effort.'

The inspiration for the project stemmed from Mrs Campbell's grandfather, who passed away recently.

"I created the project in memory of my late grandfather, I wanted to help people alone and disconnected who can't engage with technology," she said.

"He was 95-years-old and live on his own, so I knew how hard it could be for the elderly, particularly those who are isolated."

Mrs Campbell said there are 250,000 people in aged care homes across Australia, 40 per cent of which do not get any visitors.

The project that began small has since been picked up by National Seniors and the Council for Older Australians and will now continue permanently.

The support from these organisations has also created employment for Mrs Campbell.

"All of the letters are sent to us first," Mrs Campbell said.

"We go through them to ensure there are no personal details and then we send them to the recipient.

"We tailor the letters to the recipient, for example, we have a 102-year-old man in Brisbane who is an avid gardener.

"He was paired with a family out on a farm who has a huge family garden.

"They wrote to him and told him all about their garden."

Mrs Campbell said the project has been picked up in every state and territory in Australia and exists in over 20 schools.

"Macquarie Anglican School was the first to participate and is the only local school doing it," she said.

"The school has written over 50 letters to five different nursing homes in Sydney."

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School heard of the project as Mrs Campbell's daughter Charlotte attends the school.

They quickly got on board with students from the school writing letters.

Headmaster Craig Mansour said they thought the project was wonderful.

"We strive to help develop young resilient people ready to change the world and the Letterbox Project was a perfect opportunity to do so," Mr Mansour said.