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Building Connections through ‘Ruby Tuesdays’: A Community-led Letter Writing Initiative in Worcestershire Village

How a simple idea, a passion for handwritten letters, and a desire to foster community connections led to the creation of ‘Ruby Tuesdays,’ a successful letter-writing group in Cutnall Green, a village just south of Droitwich. Donna Quinn, an active community member, envisioned a place to bring people together through the act of letter writing. With the help of Lucy Bird, a Community Builder with Droitwich Spa CVS and the support of a local business, Donna’s dream became a reality, showcasing the power of community collaboration.

Reducing Social Isolation

Cutnall Green had experienced a lack of community-led activities after a popular coffee morning stopped running following a volunteer organiser stepping down. Village resident Donna Quinn recognized this void and sought to create a new initiative that would engage and connect residents. Her passion for handwritten letters sparked the idea for ‘Ruby Tuesdays,’ a group where people could come together to write letters and reach out to others who might appreciate receiving a heartfelt note.

Building the Group

Donna’s dedication to ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ drove her to take action. She contacted her local community Builder, Lucy Bird who was looking to build links within the village. The initial meeting took place at ‘Lord Morton’s Tea Room,’ a central location in Cutnall Green, offering an ideal setting for the group’s gatherings. The tea room’s owner generously offered the space, along with unlimited tea, coffee, and biscuits for a nominal fee.

Financial Support and Publicity

To fund the start-up costs, Donna approached The Elmley Trust, who contributed £400 to the cause. This donation allowed the first week’s participation to be free for attendees, and the surplus was utilized to purchase necessary materials for the sustainability of the group. Lucy and Donna worked together create materials to promote ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ around the village.

Voluntary and Community Sector Collaborations

Donna’s proactive approach led her to identify two charities, ‘Give a Few Words’ and ‘From Me To You,’ which would benefit from the group’s letter-writing activities. Participants in ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ not only wrote letters to their loved ones but sent letters to people living in Care Homes and those facing a cancer diagnosis. This extended reach of the initiative added a sense of purpose and value to the participants’ efforts.

“Thank you so much to your lovely writers from the Ruby Tuesday club for your latest post [which will go to] a local care home and also for people who are isolated in the community (along with a hot meal).’’ Sharron, Give…A Few Words

Positive Response and Community Impact

The first two sessions of ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ garnered much interest, with 12 participants attending the inaugural meeting. The sense of community spirit and shared purpose created a welcoming atmosphere, encouraging more people to join and participate actively in the group. As a result, ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ emerged as a catalyst for connecting members of the Cutnall Green community, fostering meaningful relationships among residents.

“I feel proud. A letter can make so much difference to someone not only for the receiver but also the sender. I think people forget that such a simple act can change someone’s day.  Maybe even their life … It’s nice as it brings different ages and a variety of people together in the community, some that have lived in the village a while, some that are new’’. – Donna, Ruby Tuesday group founder

The success of ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ in Cutnall Green exemplifies the power of community-driven initiatives that address the needs and passions of local residents. ‘Ruby Tuesdays’ serves as an inspiration for other communities looking to create meaningful connections, strengthen their sense of belonging and reduce social isolation.