Great British Valentine – FAQ

Is the person I’m sending a card to the same person who is sending a card to me?
No, they are two completely different people.

Can I nominate someone else to receive a card?
No, the idea is that each person participating both sends and receives a card themselves.  If you know someone who you think would benefit from receiving a Valentine’s day card, we’d suggest you send them one yourselves in the usual way.

Is this a romantic thing?
This is about sending messages of goodwill, not romance. It’s about sending someone you don’t know your best wishes – that is, your hopes that good things will happen for them.  We’re taking our inspiration from Mexico, where Valentine’s Day is about friendship and goodwill in a broad sense, not just about romantic love.

Do I have to do a home-made card?
Home-made cards are lovely to receive, and it’s not possible to buy a normal Valentine’s card that is designed to be sent to a stranger – so we are very much encouraging hand-made cards!

However, if you’re pressed for time or having a bad day, there’s no pressure. It’s absolutely fine to use a plain (non-romantic) shop bought card, or use our pre-prepared card.  It’s free to download – just print it out and find an envelope 🙂

Does it cost money to take part?
It’s free to take participate in Secret Santa Valentine (apart from the cost of a stamp).  We would, however, very much appreciate any gifts you’d like to make to the project – you can make a donation via PayPal. 

Can under 18s take part?
Children and young people are warmly welcome to take part in the project, as long as we receive consent from their parent, guardian or responsible adult.

What if I miss the registration deadline?
Unfortunately you won’t be able to take part in the national Great British Valentine project if you haven’t registered before the deadline. However, we’d very much encourage to create your own Great British Valentine project with your friends, colleagues and neighbours. It’s based on a normal secret santa – you just need to put names in a hat. If you set up your own project, please let us know – we’d love to hear all about it!

Can I send more than one card?
If you’d like to send and receive more than one card (for example, if you have children who want to participate), please feel free to make additional registrations for the project. 

How will my information be used?
The person sending you a card will be given the postal address you provide, and your instructions on how to address the card to you (we recommend using first names only). 

We will keep the rest of your information (eg. your full name, phone number and email) secure under GDPR.      

Is it ok to give a stranger my address?
Home addresses used to be listed in old-style phone books, alongside your full name and landline number.

Whilst you won’t know who is sending you your card, the Mental Health Collective will know exactly who was given your address.  If someone was to send malicious communications (which is a criminal offence) we would know exactly who to point the police towards.  

Of course, if someone did want to put something unpleasant through a stranger’s door, it’s possible for them to do this every time they walk down the street.

Do I have to use my home address?
No – it’s fine to use the address for your work, school, place of worship etc. But if you provide an address that isn’t your home, please ensure that you provide enough information in your instructions that your card will make it all the way to you. For example, “Mary and Tim, Year 8, Lavender Class” or “Faiza, Womenswear Department, 5th Floor”.

Is there a precedent for this?
The online community Reddit has been organising Secret Santa gift exchanges since 2009.  They organise dozens of gift exchanges between tens of thousands of strangers each year. In 2013 they ran a secret santa with nearly 90,000 people! 

However, the concept of Great British Valentine (with non-romantic cards between strangers) is new. As far as we are aware, this is the first project of its kind. 

What if the card to me doesn’t come through?
We will have some ‘Emergency Valentine Heros’ in the wings, who can send an extra card to those who (for whatever reason) don’t receive their good wishes.

Can I see examples of cards?
We will be sharing examples of cards and messages you could send on Instagram and Twitter, via @MHC_UK. 

We’d love to share pictures of the cards you send and receive! Please send us photos, follow us, and tag us in your posts!

How do I sign up?
You can register online by clicking the button below: