Scotmid has launched an initiative to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness for those living in care, in the wake of coronavirus.
The community retailer came up with the Sharing Smiles project after the viral outbreak forced care homes and support facilities to go into lockdown in order to reduce the risk of spread to residents, leaving them unable to spend valuable time with family and friends.
Children across Scotland are being asked to share a smile by drawing pictures and writing letters, to help residents feel connected and part of their community.
The letters and drawings will be shared with care providers to be distributed amongst residents, in a bid to bring the outside world in, at a time when the outside world may feel very far away.
Since launching the initiative last week via its social media channels, Scotmid has been overwhelmed by the response.
Lynne Ogg, Scotmid Communities Manager who is responsible for the initiative, said: “Scotmid has been serving communities for 160 years. With the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, we began thinking of how we could keep serving some of our most vulnerable members in communities via a different channel – and came up with Sharing Smiles.
“Since launching, more than 50 care providers from across Scotland have contacted us to say they would like to be included to receive pictures and letters. It’s a simple idea but a great way to keep children busy whilst also providing a valuable task that will help connect them with others at this difficult time.
“Schools have also been in touch to say they are sending the details out to parents to get involved and a care home in Inverness has said they would like to both receive and share artwork they have been working on. We hope to be able to share a lot of smiles in the weeks ahead.”
Christine Thomas, Capability Scotland, Service Manager said: “We are a large charity that supports people with disabilities to live their best life ever. Life for our customers has changed dramatically over the past week, as they are now advised to go into isolation to ensure they stay safe and healthy.
“Contact with the outside world is precious so it was hugely uplifting to read an email entitled ‘stay connected’; what a wonderfully touching idea this is. One of our social media hashtags is #creatingsmiles and being part of this project will most definitely achieve that.”
Scotmid is asking for drawings and letters to be sent in by email, which will be collated by the Communities Team before being sent on to care providers. Care providers can then print and distribute them to their residents.
Drawings and letters should be sent via email to email@example.com.