Trick or treat? - Find out how ‘little visitors’ are helping this Halloween

Kelly Lindsay, founder of the Friend in Deed enterprise to tackle loneliness. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Kelly Lindsay, founder of the Friend in Deed enterprise to tackle loneliness. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Trick-or-treating and setting off on Halloween night in costume to demand treats has been a tradition for more than a century.

Chiswick House care home residents enoyed a Halloween facetime with youngsters. Picture: Chiswick Ho

Chiswick House care home residents enoyed a Halloween facetime with youngsters. Picture: Chiswick House - Credit: Archant

And while its origins may remain murky, one thing is certain this year - it will not be the typical All Hallows’ Eve event many had planned.

But one local charity is taking the opportunity to think outside the box and has put on an unforgettable event for its users.

Friend in Deed has been tackling loneliness and isolation by finding inventive ways to connect children - dubbed ‘little visitors’ - and older friends in care homes and dementia units, despite current coronavirus restrictions.

The aim has been to keep all ages connected and smiling during the autumnal festivities by organising shared activities sent in the post, such as spooky science experiments, Halloween video clips for care home residents to watch, and even some virtual trick-or-treating.

Rowenna Hallett's children, Rhiannon, four, and Leo, two, on a video call with their care home resid

Rowenna Hallett's children, Rhiannon, four, and Leo, two, on a video call with their care home resident friend and designing pumpkins. Picture: HALLETT FAMILY - Credit: Archant


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The charity’s founder, Kelly Lindsay, said: “Some of our little visitors have been visiting the same care home residents for over three years on a weekly basis, so we are doing everything we can to keep these friendships thriving and ensure that people of all ages don’t feel lonely.

“Since Covid-19, we now can’t go and do the visits so we’ve had to find new and inventive ways to keep going and keep people connected. Trick-or-treating has been a fabulous idea for years, so we wanted to try a recreate the fun of Halloween.

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“The activities were made possible by a grant from Lovewell Blake via the Norfolk Community Foundation.”

More than 20 care homes across Norfolk, Suffolk, and East Anglia, have benefitted from Friend in Deed’s Halloween activities, including residents at Norwich care home Chiswick House, who enjoyed virtual trick-or-treating with their younger friends.

Rowenna Hallett's children, Rhiannon, four, and Leo, two, on a video call with their care home resid

Rowenna Hallett's children, Rhiannon, four, and Leo, two, on a video call with their care home resident friend and designing pumpkins. Picture: HALLETT FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Emily Powley’s children, Vinnie, aged two, and Oliver, aged four, took part. Ms Powley said: “We wanted to take part because we miss all of our older friends at Chiswick House and we want to get back there to visit in person. It was so lovely, I just wanted to cry.”

Kate Moore, activities coordinator at the home, added: “It was just so lovely to see everyone with big smiles on their faces.”

For more information about Friend In Deed, or volunteering and supporting the charity, visit the website or follow on Facebook .

Chiswick House care home in Norwich, which is run by Black Swan International. Picture: ARCHANT LIBR

Chiswick House care home in Norwich, which is run by Black Swan International. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Black Swan International

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