mollie holding a sign

Mollie’s mission to inspire Gen Z with letters written by old people

By Camomile Shumba
January 31 2020, 15.40

A Tooting Broadway resident hopes to bring old and young together with her ‘Letters To Our Grandchildren’ project.

Mollie Rawnsley, 25, is encouraging over 65s to write letters full of advice and wisdom to people aged 18 to 25.

She said: “I want to make younger people realise how interesting and inspiring older people can be and I want to do this through a really powerful and unique project.

“Thinking of my own grandparents and how proud they might be of me if I manage to achieve this keeps me going when inspiration runs low.”

Just three weeks after starting the initiative, Miss Rawnsley was able to collect 12 letters and send out seven leaflets to care homes to asking them to take part.

Miss Rawnsley plans to collect the letters and compile them into a book designed to the generations together.

They touch on powerful topics like finding happiness, dealing with loneliness, finding lasting love, and loss.

Miss Rawnsley said: “I hope that it opens up our minds to the value in what older people have to say and think about life.

“I want to connect younger people with older people, not because they feel sorry for them, but because they respect what they have to say.”

Data from Age UK’s 2019 Campaign to End Loneliness shows that lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. 

Some 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom 1 million are over 75, and in 2015 1.9 million older people told Age UK they felt invisible.

Miss Rawnsley said that the project would help the elderly feel less lonely by connecting them with a younger person and allowing them to express their feelings.

However, acquiring letters is nothing new to Miss Rawnsley.

She said: “My own grandma wrote me a letter when she couldn’t get through to me through her mobile. It turns out she had put the wrong number in her phone!

“Frustrated with the lack of contact she wrote me a letter which inspired this whole project!”

She continued: “The letter included things like how my grandma loved me and was proud of me.

“She also mentioned how lucky she felt still having a family that were so interested in her which made me quite sad as I think that this should be a given for all elderly people.”

Three of Miss Rawnsley’s grandparents passed away in their sixties.

She said: “My grandad John was a very kind and wise man who loved to write.”

Also, Miss Rawnsley said: “My grandma Judy and grandad Peter were very close to us as a family, often picking me up from school. Grandma Judy was a wonderful cook!”

Miss Rawnsley’s surviving paternal grandma, Shirley Rawnsley is aged 84.

“I think I help my Grandma Shirley by chatting to her often and spending time with her. However, she equally helps me by doing the same.”

To take part email: [email protected]

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