Sarah Hebden, part of The Tunstall Christmas Team, describes our plans to ensure that none of the people using our “Connected Care” service feel alone this Christmas and how those plans came about.

I was driving to work one October morning and thinking about a conversation a colleague in Credit Control had had with one of our Response service users the previous day. Our customer had told her that she was the only person she had spoken to that day, and the week before she had closed her curtains to see how long it had taken for someone to knock on her door to check she was OK. After three days nobody had noticed, so she opened them again.

I thought this was extremely upsetting, and that everyone is now so involved in their own fast paced lives that we don’t always notice other people around us – especially those who need us. I wondered how many people would spend the whole of Christmas without seeing a single person, and how lonely that would be if it happened to me.

It made me want to make a difference. At first I thought we could send all Tunstall Response service users a Christmas card – but then I had another thought. How lovely would it be, if they all received an old fashioned letter, that has taken somebody’s time and care to write and if it brought happiness to those reading it and memories of previous letters received.

That morning, I practically ran into the office so I could write down all the ideas swimming around in my head. How could we do this, who needs to be involved, who receives a card and letter and WHO will write them? Then I asked my team what they thought of the idea? At Tunstall we speak to a lot of lonely people 24/7, so everyone thought this would be a great idea. Somebody suggested that they would like to also get her family involved and her daughter’s Brownies Club. Everyone agreed we should contact the Manager at the Tunstall Response Centre and ask for her support, staff would contact their children’s schools and soon everyone started talking about what they could put in their letters.

I then pitched the idea to the Response Centre and the Marketing Team who loved the idea and the plan started…

Today, we are collecting letters from both Tunstall employees and schools, to work towards our aim of sending all our Tunstall Response service users a Christmas card with their own personalised letter enclosed.  We hope these letters might bring a little happiness to those people who use our products and services but might not have someone to talk to at Christmas.