To mark National Older Veg*ns Day (1 October), charity V for Life has launched a new card-writing campaign, in the hope of raising a smile among isolated older veg*ns.

An estimated 350,000 people aged over 65 in the UK are fully vegan or vegetarian and the statistics indicate a further future increase. Around 7,000 of these live in UK care homes. However, the mean percentage of vegetarians per care home is 1.6%, and lower still for vegans, at just 0.09%.

Amanda Woodvine, Chief Executive of V for Life, said: “The pandemic has been particularly challenging for some older veg*ns, including those living in care homes who haven’t been able to receive visitors.

“Even before the pandemic, many care home residents had no visitors at all. So we want to put a smile on their face, with your help. “It’s easy to get involved, and 10 minutes of your time could really make a difference to care home residents.

“We’ve had some lovely new cards printed with some rescued ex-battery hens on the front, now living their best lives, and are calling upon members of the veg*n community to write a short message inside. A sample message will be provided.

“We aim to send cards and a small vegan gift to over 1,500 care homes with veg*n residents – raising over a thousand smiles.”

Friend of V for Life Kate in Swansea said: “Your idea of reaching out to older veg*ns in care homes is a good one. It can be very isolating, especially not wanting to make a fuss about food when care staff are under such pressure. I know that when my husband was in hospital they didn’t offer him non-dairy milk, and he didn’t like to insist and just went back to a vegetarian diet as it was only for a few days. We’d both told the staff that he is a vegan.”

Josie, also a Friend of V for Life, in Yorkshire said : “I am retired and have time to write on cards so I look forward to getting my fountain pen warmed up!” Janet in Cambridgeshire added: “I’ve read your appeal for volunteers, and what a very worthwhile cause! I am getting on a bit myself (late 60s) and I’m a very new vegan, and I would love to support this campaign.”

If you are able to help, please let V for Life know how many cards to send to you. You can let them know by emailing info@vegetarianforlife.org.uk, or by calling the office on 0161 257 0887 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm).

“We’ll then pop the cards in the post to you, for you to please return to V for Life at your earliest convenience. We’ll provide an example of what to write.”

V for Life intends to mail the cards to care homes throughout Vegetarian Month and Vegan Month.

Since there are only two fully vegetarian care homes in the UK, one of VfL’s major goals is improve the standard of vegan and vegetarian catering in existing homes. We seek to do this through our UK List, which is a geographical listing of organisations and care homes that make a special effort to cater for vegetarians and vegans.

We are striving towards a vision where at least 1 in every 6 UK care homes are members of our UK List – and 1 in every 100 will be VfL accredited.

Meeting the needs of a diverse range of older people is important to us, too. We strive for VfL to be the first port of call for information, support and advice for older vegans, vegetarians, their families, friends and a broad range of care caterers.

Please click here for more details!