Caring Altogether on Romney Marsh (CARM) is a National Lottery-funded charity based in Romney Marsh, South East Kent. The charity focuses on reducing social isolation and improving wellbeing for older people, with face-to-face and telephone befriending, talking and musical reminiscence, as well as “meeting points” (akin to coffee mornings) regularly provided to over 500 older people by about 150 dedicated volunteers.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, CARM’s telephone befriending service has been pivotal in reducing loneliness and isolation. Volunteers who would usually visit an older person every week have instead been ringing their client regularly to keep in touch. CARM has expanded its telephone befriending service and is now reaching people who it was not previously in touch with, benefitting from new volunteers put themselves forward to ring people. For many people, this has been their first volunteering opportunity and they are enjoying it.
As well as sending out monthly newsletters and proposing art and craft activities for people, CARM has also rolled out a lovely new initiative – Happy Post.
Through the Happy Post initiative, CARM is encouraging youngsters to draw pictures, postcards or write stories and poems that are forwarded on to older people. To date, over 130 pieces of Happy Post have been sent out.
Here are a couple of quotes:
“Flo was so pleased; she loved the handmade card sent by the children, it arrived this morning. She kept showing it to me as it meant so much to her. Please thank the children for such a thoughtful gesture.”
“Lovely card from Tilly, very happy to get her card, cheered me up no end.”
Helen Mattock, Manager of CARM, said:
“Lockdown has been a very anxious and lonely time for many people, but it has been harder for many older people who don’t have the benefit of technology. So, we reverted to good old-fashioned post. Receiving Happy Post has really made people’s day. We have received lots of phone calls and notes thanking us and the artists for their work. We are grateful to everyone who buys a National Lottery ticket, which funds services such as ours and so many others across the county.”