Kind-hearted communities served by Colten Care’s 21 homes in the south have been doing their bit to cheer up residents separated from loved ones because of coronavirus.
As movement restrictions from the government have tightened, the family-owned provider has moved from advising relatives to ‘think twice’ about coming in to halting non-essential visits altogether.
Friends, families and community contacts have immediately responded by sending in letters, postcards, emails, photos and drawings.
Team members at Colten’s Chichester home, Wellington Grange, say they have been inundated with goodwill wishes after a Facebook message by Healthcare Assistant Natalie Agate received more than 2,200 shares, 200 likes and around 150 comments.
Natalie wrote: “As our home is closed to the public, we have many vulnerable residents who are missing their families dearly.
“Please could I ask for children, whatever age, to reach out and send letters or pictures to them?
“This one act of kindness will bring such joy and support to us and our residents.”
The post prompted Chichester Festival Theatre to offer to send Wellington Grange pre-recorded video clips of its youth theatre performances to be screened in the residents’ lounge.
And Chichester’s Bishop Luffa School pledged to invite pupils to write and send in 100 letters to the home.
Natalie’s colleague Emily Hudson, Senior Companionship Team Leader, said: “The residents have been overwhelmed with the amount of kindness and love they have received.
“This is a lovely example of a local community coming together and supporting those more vulnerable and isolated during this time. It has all come from just one Facebook post which is incredible.”
At Colten Care’s Winchester home, Abbotts Barton, residents were overjoyed to receive a letter of encouragement from a 12-year-old boy.
He wrote: “I was sad to find out that I couldn’t visit due to Covid-19. I hope that each and every one of you remains well for the remainder of this crisis.
“I believe that all of you will remain well because I am sure that your carers will try their best to keep you safe.”
Deliveries of ‘good luck’ postcards and ‘positive posters’ to other Colten homes are also being organised by individuals and community groups.
At Abbey View in Sherborne, residents were already being cheered by a display of messages sent in from people around the world under the Postcards of Kindness initiative.
Home Manager Sarah Harper said: “Our residents love receiving good wishes and lovely messages, and many have been writing back to their pen pals and building up their friendships.”