Are you, like me, reluctant to put this year’s Christmas cards away? Because they’re not just pretty pictures: each one is a warm touch from the sender to say that they are thinking about us. They are like little lights in the soul… Some people keep their Christmas cards for years! So it’s sad to think of an older person who’s outlived their friends and family, or worse, dropped off their radar, who doesn’t receive a single card. When mental health nurse, Mo Farage, heard first-hand how isolated one woman had become she decided to do something about it. She said, ‘“She said, ‘can you imagine, no-one even sends me Christmas cards’. That hit something inside me, it hurt me.”
This year, Mrs Farage, who runs the Community Cares Club, bought and wrote 1,900 Christmas cards to strangers in an effort to combat loneliness. Every card was delivered with chocolates and an invitation to dinner on Christmas Day, hosted by a team of volunteers.“There’s an atmosphere about Christmas that makes it very, very depressing for many, many people – being given something, being remembered, makes a lot of difference,” she said. She’s been ‘through it all’ herself in life, including the breakdown of her marriage and being blinded in one eye because of a car accident.
It isn’t the first time Mrs Farage has ‘gone big’ at Christmas time. In 2016 she invited anyone alone on Christmas Day to come to her house, but there was so much demand she had to hire two venues in Nottingham. She funded the events herself,spending between £2,500 and £3,000. She admitted that the idea was “a bit mad”, but it led to her setting up the Community Cares Club.
This Christmas, thanks to her, 1900 people in Nottingham knew that somebody was thinking of them. Add that number to people reached by Churches in their communities and it gives an idea of how loneliness was lifted, even if only for a little while, this Christmas time. Glory!