When was the last time you received a letter through the post that was not a bill or junk mail?
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone other than a complaint?
To be honest until we set up our charity The Lewis Foundation (www.thelewisfoundation.co.uk), I had not written a letter to someone in 16 years. The last letters I wrote was to a friend who lived far away. Mobile phones were in the early days, so we were still using the old school method of pen and paper.
Then mobiles and the internet became big and there was no point writing a letter anymore, when you can ping off an email. Facebook, Tweet or send a text. This would cover ever eventuality until the point where, it was like what was the point buying cards any more for occasions when you can do it electronically.
It wasn’t until the early days of my charity that I remember sitting across from a marketing expert who was discussing ways I could connect with individuals and companies to grow my charity. What about writing to people she asked me?
In my head I was thinking I can’t remember the last time I wrote, it was going to take me a lot of time to write the letters, then there was posting and buying a stamp. She knew what I was thinking and she told me that is the exact reasons why you should be writing. It shows you made the time and effort to connect with someone, you put thought in it and it was personal. It takes no time at all to copy and paste an email or send a quick text message. She was right.
I cracked on with my first few letters. I had went out and brought some nice stationary to use (not the normal boring bill like white and cream envelope and paper). I realised my hand writing was shocking and remembered if I made a mistake, that it was it back to square one. By time I had finished my first letter, I had a sea of scrunched up attempts round my feet. However, it felt satisfying and rewarding. Then it was off to buy a stamp (is that how much it costs now!) and then I posted my letters off.
I had more success connecting people to my charity this way, than when I had done it online. Now, I do most of my connections to do with my charity this way.
Recently, on The Lewis Foundation Twitter page I came across From Me To You (https://www.frommetoyouletters.co.uk ). Alison and Brian are a team who get people involved in letter writing. When Brian had cancer, Alison would write letters to him. The letters were not to do with cancer but they were ways to brighten up Brian’s day. It could be what Alison was up to, jokes or quotes. Through these letters they built up a solid friendship and gave Brian something to look forward to.
Alison and Brian run workshops around the country where people come along and write letters. It doesn’t have to be specifically to someone with cancer, it can be to anyone. They help inspire others to write letters to someone because it is often not easy to know what to write or know where to start.
I knew straight away this is something The Lewis Foundation had to connect with. This is something important to the work we do. We want to ensure that people have something to look forward to during treatment, keep people occupied and reduce isolation. This is exactly what both of our organisations are doing.
We attended a workshop at Hello Love Space on the 23rd May 2017, which is a beautiful place in Holborn. Set up by Jane to not only provide a support network for the people and families that have been affected by cancer, but also to provide a central location for traditional and alternative therapies.
We saw and learnt, how hard it can be to write a letter. Brian and Alison helped all the workshop participants with ways to overcome that. Participants shared their stories about the difficulties they had writing to a family or friends. It was a moving and inspiring experience. Letter writing to a stranger was something that did not come easy to me or Lee, where do we start? However, by the end of the workshop between Lee and I, we had written 4 letters to someone we don’t even know who has cancer to brighten up their day.
From Me To You have recently launched a Don