Bassetlaw primary school students send letters to care home residents as part of a community initiative

Children at a Bassetlaw primary school have been writing letters for residents at a care home to help reduce their isolation following the pandemic.

Monday, 25th April 2022, 3:08 pm

Students at Bracken Lane Primary Academy, in Retford, have been sending letters to residents at Retford’s The Hollies Residential Home as part of a ‘community champions’ initiative.

A group of 13 children in Year 2 to 5 began meeting after school every Wednesday to plan positive community activities.

One of their ideas was to contact The Hollies, a care home in Retford with residents aged 80 to 100 years old, to see if they would be interested in a pen pal scheme.

The students at Bracken Lane Primary Academy have enjoyed sending and receiving letters and photos from residents at The Hollies care home.

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Bracken Lane teaching assistant, Christine Collins, organised the first set of letters to be sent to residents just in time for Christmas.

Since then, children have sent cards and letters for Valentine’s Day, organised a delivery of over 40 cards for one resident’s 100th birthday, and more recently they have sent care packages for Easter.

Della Jackson, activities co-ordinator at The Hollies, said: “The residents weren’t allowed any visitors throughout lockdown and felt incredibly isolated.

The Easter care packages were delivered to the residents.

“Receiving letters from the children was like a breath of fresh air – you could visibly see the mood lift and delight spread through the home.”

The residents were overwhelmed with the deliveries, and thanked the children for writing and cheering them up.

One said: “We received our beautiful cards and thought it was lovely and a nice surprise… you’ve made us all smile today. We look forward to hearing from you all again.”

Christine said the pen pal initiative has had a positive impact on the students and their desire to learn about the lives and interests of others.

Students recently made Easter care packages for the residents.

She said: “When the children received the cards their faces lit up, they were so inspired to hear about the lives of the residents.”

Christine is currently putting plans in place for an after-school trip for the children to go and visit The Hollies to meet their pen pals in person.

She added: “The children are especially excited to meet some of the residents who have written with stories of their youth, such as a resident who used to play football for Retford Town and got picked to play for Nottingham Forest, and another who was an apprentice joiner on power stations.”

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