The Royal Mail has recently been trialling a new campaign to help tackle loneliness in older people.
With 18% of the population now being over the age of 65 and many of them living alone, the Royal Mail has teamed up with Liverpool City Council and around 100 volunteers who are age 65 or over. These volunteers will receive regular wellbeing visits from their local post man or woman while they are out on their route.
The Royal Mail workers make scheduled stops at volunteer’s homes and will ask the individual living there five sets of questions to ensure their safety and wellbeing. The person’s responses are recorded on a hand-held mobile device and information is passed to the local authority and any additional assistance will be organised based on the results.
The postmen and women have been given training and support in order to offer the service.
We think this is a fantastic idea and we hope to see it rolled out across the country ASAP. Post men and women are ideal for this type of service as they are often highly trusted in their communities and they will often stop and talk to people while they are out and about anyway.
The simple act of talking to a post man or woman can bring great joy to an older person’s day as it may be the only bit of social interaction they get that day, so even if they don’t need any assistance, just having someone to talk to is super important for them.
Post men and women also often have a great knowledge of the local are and the people who live there as they are delivering mail six days a week in the same areas.
It’s also a great reassurance for families who might live far away or aren’t able to check up on their loved-one’s on a daily basis. They can rest assured that if their loved-one needs additional assistance, it will be noted and actioned by the service.
Sue Whalley, CEO, Royal Mail Post and Parcels UK, said on the Royal Mail website: “Our people are the perfect fit for this laudable and worthwhile initiative. Our nationwide “feet on the street” network gives us unparalleled UK reach and local knowledge. In addition, this new community initiative cements the role we already play in tackling loneliness and isolation, providing individuals with a way to access the local services they really need.
“Our postmen and women really are often first on the scene in an emergency and they do all they can to help. This trial, which the Home Office is funding, will help us test whether we could develop this as a new commercial service that we might offer to communities more widely through local authorities or other organisations.”