You Can Now Write Letters To Key Workers To Thank Them. Here's How.

“Clap For Carers is amazing, but I don’t think it was enough," says 19-year-old Soumya, who has launched a letter-writing scheme to thank key workers.

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If you’ve noticed a Clap For Carers-shaped hole in your life since the weekly round of applause ended, why not write key workers a letter of gratitude instead?

Soumya Krishna Kumar, 19, has launched a letter-writing project, allowing volunteers to sign up and write thank you notes to key workers who’ve been instrumental in getting the UK back on its feet during the pandemic.

The first year University of Warwick maths student has orchestrated this while studying from her parents’ home in London. She came up with the idea after noticing people in her local mutual aid group wanted to help in the community, but were shielding at home or unable to leave the house.

Soumya Krishna Kumar writes a letter to a key worker.
Soumya Krishna Kumar writes a letter to a key worker.

“I thought writing letters was a fantastic way for anyone to get involved,” she tells HuffPost UK. “Obviously I also saw on the other end how hard our key workers were working.

“Clap For Carers is amazing, but I don’t think it was quite enough. I don’t think it’s enough to clap for two minutes a week and then just carry on with our lives.”

Letter to a key worker
The Crisis Project / Letters To The NHS
Letter to a key worker

So far, the project – called ‘Letters For The NHS’ – has more than 700 volunteers and, as of last week, 225 letters have been sent out to key workers, including NHS staff, fire and rescue officers, and police.

The scheme was originally set up for NHS workers, but she’s now expanded the cause to all key workers.

How does it work?

People can nominate key workers to receive letters by filling in a Google form on the project’s website. Volunteers can sign up to write letters – they’ll then receive information on the key worker they’re writing to, including their first name and a rough outline of their job role.

Once a letter has been written, it’s either scanned in and emailed to Soumya or sent to her by post. She then sends it on to the key worker it’s for, via post or email – depending on what details were left by the nominator. People can donate just £1 to help fund postage and ensure the letters are delivered in the safest manner, the website states. Data protection is taken seriously, it adds.

The letters have already had a positive impact. An intensive treatment unit (ITU) nurse said: “This letter touched me on an emotional level and brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for lifting the spirits of a very tired ITU nurse. I will definitely be nominating my equally exhausted co-workers.”

Responding directly to their letter, another key worker said: “Thank you for taking the time to buoy me up – you have made all the difference, to me.”

Soumya says the response so far has been heartwarming: “A lot of key workers message and tell us how lovely and unexpected it was because often, they don’t know someone has nominated them – the letter is a complete surprise.”

A YouGov poll found six in 10 key workers feel more appreciated than ever. Healthcare workers topped the list, with three quarters saying they feel more appreciated than before the Covid-19 pandemic started. It’s Soumya’s aim to keep this going.

She has high hopes of reaching as many key workers as possible, and wants to keep the project alive beyond the pandemic. “I think that key workers do such incredible work on a daily basis anyway,” she says. “We ought to keep appreciating them after the pandemic has run its course.”