Residents at River Court care home, in Hertfordshire, have been keeping connected with young people at a time when social isolation has increased, by joining the free YOPEY pen pal scheme.
YOPEY, the Young People of the Year charity, traditionally runs befriending schemes where young people visit care homes but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been put on hold.
Despite some visiting being stopped during the lockdown, the charity and its volunteers wanted to continue supporting care home residents at a time when they needed it the most, so decided to start a letter-writing scheme.
Feedback from Residents at River Court has been extremely positive, with one commenting: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having these letters to read, it’s fantastic to hear what the youngsters are up to and I always look forward to the next one. They also send us quizzes, crosswords and word searches that have been really enjoyable and have kept us busy.”
Home Manager, Bijoy Philip, has described the befriending scheme as “An opportunity to give some love and receive some love.” He commented, “With everything else that’s going on in the world currently, the scheme has been a beacon of hope for our Residents during the lockdown.”
“Creating and maintaining social connections with our younger generation is key to supporting the mental wellbeing of our Residents and in turn, helps them to age well.”
“We wanted to keep our Residents connected with young people, as we see the many benefits that it brings to them. We want to thank the Wellbeing Team for their constant efforts in getting the Residents involved in this great initiative.”
Two Residents, Joan Brown and Bridget Furlong (pictured), have especially been relishing this opportunity to interact with their pen pals. They have been so inspired by the letters, that they decided to befriend and write back to multiple young people, creating newfound bonds between them and the young.
It has kept the residents occupied and mentally stimulated, but most importantly it has brought them and other residents a different kind of happiness.