There are times in everyone’s life when we feel lonely or isolated.
It can be for straightforward reasons, like being away from home or having problems with friends and family.
After a relationship break-up or the death of a loved one, spending more time on your own can feel isolating.
It was a conversation with an elderly customer that really opened the eyes of beautician Jenna Pike to just how daunting isolation is.
The 22-year-old said: “I had a lovely old lady come and stop by my salon. She told me that she would like a manicure as she really struggled to file her own nails as she had arthritis. So a manicure she got.
“But then something else she told me just made me feel a little sad. She said that she didn’t have any other plans for the rest of the day, nor the rest of the week as there wasn’t really anyone around.
“It was clear this lady was very isolated and it made me think I needed to do something.”
After picturing herself in the same position, she decided it was time for her to act to help make a difference.
Now Jenna is offering to file and shape the nails of those who are suffering from social isolation at Kolours Beauty Bar on Gorgie Road under one condition. They need to tell her at least one story.
She added: “All the amazing things people have seen, done and experienced are not getting the chance to be told.
“I am looking to do this all year round. But isolation would be worse at this time of the year when people spend a lot of time with family and friends. I imagine living my life alone with only a TV and radio for company and it just would be so lonely. If I can help just one person with this then it will have been worthwhile.”
She has also started an online fundraising page to go towards the materials used and upgrading treatments to include a coat of coloured polish where possible.
Any further funds will be donated on to Vintage Vibes Edinburgh – a service tackling isolation and loneliness among over-60s in Edinburgh.
Jenna has also been overwhelmed by the floods of messages from people who have got behind her initiative and offered to pay for treatments.
She said: “What I’m doing is very much on the smaller scale for what can be done in tackling isolation. But it can make a difference.
“So please, if you know of anyone in that same or similar position send them my way.
“As simple as it may be, when you can’t do it easily yourself I hate the thought of someone being uncomfortable or frustrated at the length of their nails. I also genuinely love a blether so it’s a win win.
“I might not be able to do it immediately, but I will be able to squeeze them in at some point that day. Or if they are needing a specific time give me a wee phone call and I’ll do my best.”
The recently launched Edinburgh Cheer campaign aims to make the the city and the Lothians the Capital of Kindness. It aims to help people all over the Capital in need of smiles and support this festive season.
Jenna admits her actions are only small scale in terms of tackling isolation, but she is hopeful she can make a positive impact on people’s lives and has urged others to do the same.
She said: “Isolation is happening more now and we need to tackle it as a city. I am lucky I’m in a job where I can chat all day to people. I just want to help people and let them know that there’s someone thinking of them and willing to talk.
“I cannot urge you all anymore to give whatever time you may have to help someone in whatever way you can. Whether that be old or young. We can really make a difference.”
People can pop into Kolours for their free treatment or call 0131 3374503 to set up an appointment.
You can donate online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mani-story
Meanwhile, the volunteers involved with Destiny Church are working hard to spread some festive cheer by making sure the most vulnerable people in the Capital know someone is looking out for them at what can be the loneliest.
Their eighth annual hamper appeal forms part of the Edinburgh Cheer campaign and works alongside various groups and charities such as Streetwork and Cyrenians to identify those who would benefit from a hamper at Christmas featuring food, drink, toiletries as well as Christmas cards and gifts.
Through the GameChanger Partnership, other partners such as Hibernian FC have become involved in the project and this year have vowed to double its efforts by aiding 1,000 families in Edinburgh.
Destiny Angels are in need of cash to add that extra Christmas treat to the hampers to put a smile on the faces of those receiving them.
The public can do this with a unique hamper gift card which enables them to pay £20 as an alternative Christmas present with all proceeds going to the appeal.
People who want to help those most in need can also donate online at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/hamperappeal2018 or drop off cash or cheques payable to Destiny Church Edinburgh to any of the Edinburgh churches.