Express & Star

Enniskillen woman gets award from PM for initiative to combat loneliness

Nuala O’Toole’s scheme has enabled the delivery of 12,000 letters to isolated people.

Nuala O'Toole has been recognised by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for her Kindness Postbox scheme (Nuala O'Toole/PA)

An Enniskillen woman who has helped 12,000 isolated people receive an act of kindness has received Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s daily Points of Light award.

Nuala O’Toole set up the Kindness Postbox scheme during the pandemic to link local school children with isolated residents, sending letters, cards and artwork via a postbox located in their school.

The scheme was so popular that there are now 23 Kindness Postbox groups and 50 postboxes across Northern Ireland, as well as an international group set up in Australia.

Over the Christmas period, more than 3,000 cards and letters were sent to combat loneliness.

Last year Ms O’Toole also coordinated the posting of letters and artwork to children in Ukraine, to help provide comfort and messages of support following the Russian invasion.

In a letter, Mr Sunak said: “I want to thank you for the many small acts of kindness you have inspired with your wonderful Kindness Postboxes.

“Your initiative has seen thousands of letters, cards and drawings shared between school children and care home residents across Northern Ireland and far beyond.

“I know you have also coordinated the delivery of Christmas hampers for the elderly – and a special posting of letters and artwork to children in Ukraine.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The comfort and hope Nuala has brought to people in Northern Ireland, and children in Ukraine, has brightened their lives during difficult times and I am proud to see her receive this fantastic recognition.”

Ms O’Toole said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to receive the award on behalf of all the individuals who collectively make our project work.

“If you can make one small difference in one person’s life for one minute, do that.”

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