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Putting Pen to Paper: Hope Coventry's Good Neighbours programme

There has been a lot of focus on connecting with each other digitally during this crisis, but sometimes the old-fashioned approach can make a huge difference.

Lisa Randle, Chef de Partie in Warwick Conferences’ Rootes kitchen, has been putting her writing skills to good use by volunteering as a pen pal befriender through Hope Coventry’s Good Neighbours programme. She is writing letters to vulnerable local people in Coventry.

Lisa said:

“I am currently furloughed until 30 June. I have two children, who are learning from home at the moment but in between helping them I have a bit of spare time to get involved with writing letters”.

Lisa Randle writing a letter
Lisa Randle writing a letter

She added:

“I hand write the letters and post them. I think it’s quite a nice thing to do these days, with everybody mainly using e-mail.

“I just write a little bit about myself. But mainly I ask them about themselves really, it’s just so they can have a chat, obviously through letter form.

“I would like to think it would cheer them up, receiving a letter through the post”.

Lisa heard about this volunteering opportunity through the University’s volunteering opportunities portal, set up in response to COVID-19 to signpost people to local organisations that need support.

Good Neighbours Coventry

Good Neighbours Coventry was developed by local churches (via HOPE Coventry and Together for Change) in partnership with Age UK Coventry and Warwickshire to reduce isolation and therefore improve wellbeing amongst older people. Their support normally takes the form of 1:1 befriending (visiting people at home and simply chatting to them), group activities (such as coffee mornings, choirs, and more), or signposting to other useful organisations and clubs (through their Activity Guides).

With face to face befriending and all social clubs currently suspended they are offering remote volunteering support during COVID-19 to isolated over 50s in CV1-CV6 including:

  • Temporary telephone befriending
  • Temporary pen pal befriending
  • Temporary grocery shopping delivery
  • Temporary food bank parcels for older people with no income
  • Temporary medication delivery (only if pharmacy will not deliver)
  • Since 20 April they have also been temporarily offering befriending and home shopping to disabled/self-isolating isolated adults aged 18-49 in CV1-CV6.

They depend on volunteers to provide support so if you can volunteer (especially if you drive and are available daytime Monday-Friday), please visit