Thumbprint Ordsall

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014

Making and maintaining connections through creative writing and mobile phones.

An initiative similar to Where Were You Happiest to Arrive and Secret Life of Cumbria but done in the context of a community group with people taking part regularly over the course of months, and sometimes even years, and some of them meeting up in person.

In follow-up conversations the group commented on how it increased their sense of wellbeing. Amber, one of the group, said:

“I had a rough day and the message cheered me up.”


Jane, one of the organisers and a former mental health nurse, felt that this was both therapeutic and valuable community development.

Ongoing connections matter to people's health and wellbeing because there is lots of evidence that having network ties helps people recover from setbacks without needing to draw on expensive public services. Robert Putnam, who wrote a book about social capital, described it as having people who will bring you chicken soup when you are ill.

Mike, the second organiser, thought that using Thumbprint rather than face-to-face communication meant that:

“in a group, people are mindful of what they are going to say in public, but when it's just you and a phone you can be a bit more open.”


The sense of connection and getting mental boost are among the guaranteed positive results of using Thumbprint, and have happened during other Thumbprint initiatives including bibliotherapy through Thumbprint and with Lifeline, a drug and alcohol treatment agency.

Jane and Mike even wrote a book about the way they were using Thumbprint in community settings.