1975. Nuala O'Toole
Nuala O’Toole, from Enniskillen, has helped 12,000 people across Northern Ireland share acts of kindness through her ‘Kindness Postbox’ scheme.
Nuala set up the scheme during the pandemic to link local school children with isolated residents, sending letters, cards and artwork via a specially designed kindness 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, and in 2022 Nuala also coordinated a special posting of letters and artwork to children in Ukraine to help provide comfort and messages of support following the Russian invasion.
In a personal letter to Nuala, Prime Minister Rishi 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.
“Every day I write to someone in our country to thank them for their service to others by naming them as a Point of Light. It could not be more fitting that today I am posting a letter to you.”
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said:
“Congratulations to Nuala on this well-deserved award.
“The comfort and hope she 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.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled to receive the award on behalf of all the individuals and Kindlings who collectively make our project ‘The Kindness Postbox’ work.
“If you can make one small difference in one person’s life for one minute, do that.
“Thank you all very much for the award.”
Pictured below: Nuala with one of the first Kindness Postboxes she set up during the COVID-19 pandemic