Leader comment: A small gesture could make a big difference

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As part of the Edinburgh Cheer campaign, we have been asking readers to help make our city the capital of compassion this Christmas.

If everyone committed to just one small act, what an amazing difference we could make to thousands of lives.

Among many aims, the Edinburgh Cheer drive is hoping to make a real difference to older people, and we report on some fantastic charity efforts on pages 16 and 17 today.

New figures this week revealed around 120,000 older Scots could be living this Christmas with undiagnosed mental health conditions caused by loneliness and isolation. It’s made worse because there is often a reluctance among the older generation to seek help.

This problem is hidden and growing as use of new technology and the loss of face-to-face interaction in all areas of life continues to grow.

But you can help. This year as you enjoy the festivities with your family, keep one eye on those less fortunate. Check on your elderly neighbours, maybe invite them for lunch or just a chat over a cuppa.

Don’t under-estimate the value of a simple act like saying Merry Christmas or sending a card. A small gesture could make a big difference.