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‘It brings a bit of joy’ - Care home residents link up with children through pen pal project during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:59 13 June 2020 | UPDATED: 21:31 13 June 2020

Dot Copland, 98, a resident at Springdale Residential Home in Brundall. Picture: NorseCare

Dot Copland, 98, a resident at Springdale Residential Home in Brundall. Picture: NorseCare

NorseCare

One of the most stark implications of lockdown has been the isolation of care home residents who have been prevented from seeing friends and family.

Lily-Ella Brodhurst, seven, (left) with her sister Violet Brodhurst, five, in front of Springdale Residential Home in Brundall holding one of her pen pal letters. Picture: Liz WoodsLily-Ella Brodhurst, seven, (left) with her sister Violet Brodhurst, five, in front of Springdale Residential Home in Brundall holding one of her pen pal letters. Picture: Liz Woods

But a pen pal scheme, set up in a Broads village has helped older people have a link to the outside world and establish friendships with children.

The project has brought together 11 residents from Spingdale Residential Home, on Cucumber Lane, Brundall, and children from Brundall Primary School, mainly aged six to eight.

It was started by the parent of a primary school pupil and letters and drawings are placed in a box outside Springdale.

One of the children who has exchanged letters with a 98-year-old, called Dorothy Copland, known as Dot, is seven-year-old Lily-Ella Brodhurst.

She said: “I was writing to make her happy because she has not been able to see her family. She might be lonely. It has been nice getting to know her.”

Among the many letters they have swapped, the pair have talked about Lily’s little sister Violet and pet rats, their favourite food, learning how to ride a bike and knitting.

“It is really kind that Dot knits little hats for newborn babies at the hospital,” Lily added.

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Her mother, Liz Woods, 37, from Maurecourt Drive in Brundall, who works for Aviva, said: “It’s always important that young people connect with the older generation but it’s especially important at a time like this, when many of the residents haven’t been able to see their families. I think it’s great that our community have come together in this loving and caring way.

“Lily has never had a pen pal before. She’s always really excited to get her letter back from Dot and I hope for Dot sharing letters with Lily has given her something to look forward to and perhaps reminded her of her own childhood as they’ve chatted about learning to ride bikes and what vegetables they don’t like.”

It is hoped the pen pal scheme is carried on after lockdown is fully lifted and the older and younger generations will finally meet in person.

Hannah Parker, business support manager for NorseCare, which runs Springdale, said: “It is something that brings a bit of joy to the residents’ day. The biggest impact of coronavirus on our residents is them not being able to see families.”

A NorseCare spokesman said: “Being connected to our local communities is extremely important to us and it’s been lovely to see those connections maintained and grow stronger.”

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