Sidcup care home residents strike up pen pal friendship with school students

By Connor McLaughlin

Residents of a care home in Sidcup have struck up a friendship through letters with local school children over lockdown.

The Gidea Park and Farrington Primary schools started an intergenerational pen pal initiative with the Smyth Lodge care home earlier this year for students to connect with residents and help with the loneliness many of them felt during lockdown.

The students’ letters were read aloud during a session at the home and gave the residents the opportunity to reminiscence on their own school days as they wrote back in reply.

Josephine Griffin, a resident at Smyth Lodge, said: “We are so thankful for the lovely letters we received, and the effect the children’s writing had. It certainly brightened our day.

“I am delighted to have receive a lovely bookmark too, which I have on display in my room for all to see.”

Tracey Cheeseman, home manager at the home said that she hopes this is the beginning of a blossoming friendship between the home and the schools, and said they plan to have these friendships moved off the page and in person as soon as they are able.

Josephine Griffin

She said: “We were delighted to receive the very special letters from pupils at Gidea Park Primary School and Farrington School – and to see the smiles they brought to the residents faces as they were reading them.

“Intergenerational relationships have proven to be incredibly enriching, as they provide an opportunity for younger and older generations to learn from each other.

“These relationships can be particularly beneficial for older people, as they can offer a sense of purpose and prompt conversations as residents reflect back on their younger years.”

For the time being, until restrictions allow, the pupils and residents plan to continue their pen pal friendships for many more days to come.




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