Over 60s in Buckinghamshire asked to become pen pals in bid to combat loneliness

New nationwide pen pals scheme for over 60s aims to reduce loneliness
New nationwide pen pals scheme for over 60s aims to reduce loneliness

Older people in Buckinghamshire are being invited to join a new pen pals initiative, encouraging people to take one step to put an end to loneliness.

In a recent study of 1,000 over-65s, it found that 53 per cent of retirees in Buckinghamshire often feel lonely – particularly when they are home alone.

The scheme is open to anyone aged 60 and over who would like to be a pen pal to someone of a similar age, and who might be feeling lonely, or, think they could benefit from having a new companion.

The closing date to apply is Sunday 31st March.

Applications can be made online at https://www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk/pen-pals/ , or those interested can request an application form by calling McCarthy & Stone on: 0800 8100089 and providing their name and address.

Simon Pendlebury from McCarthy and Stone, said: “We understand that for a lot of older people who may be experiencing loneliness, opening up and sharing how they’re feeling with loved ones can be difficult. They do not want to be seen as a burden.

“There are also some members of the Buckinghamshire community who can’t get and out about easily to meet new people, to visit family, and it is often these people who can feel the most alone.

"The aim of the pen pal scheme is to give over 60s who perhaps aren’t as social media savvy, another means to connect with people – the opportunity to strike up new friendships and have someone they feel they can write to when they feel the need.”

Researchers discovered that whilst the majority were trying hard to stay connected to the outside world, taking to Facebook in a bid to stay in touch with family and friends, nearly half of baby boomers lacked confidence when it came to using social media, and this was having a negative effect on their relationships.

36 per cent of Buckinghamshire retirees admitted to feeling lonely because they do not get calls or visits from family members very often, and one in five said they have no one to turn to.

Simon Pendlebury continues: “I would encourage anyone thinking of being a pen pal to submit their application as soon as possible. We are excited to see how this can really make a difference to the lives of older people, and hope it will be the start of some long-lasting literary friendships.”

If you or anyone you know would like to be matched with a pen pal, please visit: https://www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk/pen-pals/ for more information on how to apply, and for terms and conditions.