Students become intergenerational pen pals with care home residents during lockdown

A Sixth Form College initiative has a seen number of unlikely friendships forged across the generations during lockdown.

Wnw Images Landscape Teresa

Students at Carmel Sixth Form College in St Helens have become intergenerational pen pals with residents at Sherdley Court.

The college's work experience coordinator, was looking for a way for students to continue to engage with their community whilst all face-to-face college lessons and work placements were on hold. She hit upon the idea of reaching out to the region's residential homes, by compiling a weekly email newsletter full of the students' letters, poems, stories, drawings and photos.

Seven editions of the newsletter, titled Carmel Gifts, have now been shared with residents. Demi-Leigh Peet and Teresa and are just one pair of pals who have been sharing details of their lives over email.

Teresa, who has lived at Sherdley Court since 2008, is living with mental illness and has battled cancer. She replied to a handwritten letter from 16-year-old A-level student Demi-Leigh.

Demi-Leigh wrote about her passions, which include going to the gym, family parties and seeing her friends. Teresa replied that when she was 16, she had a boyfriend with a Lambretta scooter and she used to love riding on the back of it.

Hayley Rowson de Vares, residential manager, Sherdley Court, said: "This is such an important project and it is really brightening everyone's Fridays. Encouraging communication between the generations brings something special for both young and older people and it's fantastic to see this continuing despite the current physical restrictions."

The college hopes, once it is safe, to continue the flourisng relationship by sending in students to teach ICT skills to residents.

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