A PILOT pen pals project aimed at connecting youngsters and pensioners won the public vote at Stirling Soup 5.

Contact the Elderly will use their £425 winnings to set up an initiative linking up local primary schools with guests from their local tea party groups.

Morna O’May, the charity’s Head of Service for Scotland, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win this pot of money from Stirling Soup as it will enable us to get the pilot launched in the Forth Valley area. 

"Pupils and our guests will be able to write to each other, sharing stories, learning from each other and having the pleasure of sending and receiving hand written letters.

"This will strengthen links within our local communities and ultimately help to end the social isolation and loneliness that Contact the Elderly is combatting every day.

"We already have primary school children and older folks really keen to start writing to each other and we are looking forward to seeing how this pilot develops.”

The concept of Soup is simple: donate £5 (or more if you can) for a lively evening of food and live music, listen to pitches from small community projects who want to improve life in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire and vote for your favourite.

At the end, the winner takes away all the donations to make their idea a reality.

Commenting on Contact the Elderly's win Stirling Soup organiser, Liam Miller, said: “Morna’s pitch for Contact the Elderly reminded us that human beings are, ultimately, social beings.

"In under four minutes she painted a vivid picture of how loneliness can affect older people and issued a call to action for us to speak to, write to and engage with our elderly population.

"We congratulate Morna and look forward to hearing how she used the winner’s pot to fund the intergenerational project at our next Soup.”

In a Stirling Soup first, there was also a prize for second place thanks to Creative Stirling.

Liam said: “This time we decided to do things differently and use a generous donation of £207 from Creative Stirling as a special prize pot of its own.

"The pitch from PLUS Forth Valley can only be described as unique – all singing, all dancing and brimming with pizazz and flair.

"PLUS hope to use the money to raise awareness of their services in the Forth Valley and we wish them the very best of luck.”

Soup 6 is due to take place in September.

Follow Stirling Soup on Facebook for further details.