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Isolating residents at Tonbridge House Care Home receive letters from pen-pals at The Hayesbrook School

School pupils are maintaining friendships with residents of a care home - by reviving the dying art of letter writing.

Students at The Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge have developed bonds with people staying at Tonbridge House Care Home thanks to a visiting scheme launched in 2019.

A student from The Hayesbrook School, Louis in Year 7, posting a letter to residents at Tonbridge House Care Home
A student from The Hayesbrook School, Louis in Year 7, posting a letter to residents at Tonbridge House Care Home

It sees the youngsters dropping in to spend time sharing activities such as crafts, games and conversation - but the requirement for older folk to isolate during the Covid-19 pandemic has forced to visits to stop.

So instead the school has launched a pen-pal project allowing the students to stay in touch with the care home residents, hopefully lifting their spirits at what has been a difficult time.

Ruth Christmas, associate assistant principal at The Hayesbrook School, said: "Just because school is not happening in its usual form, our students did not want to lose touch with the friends they had made at the Tonbridge House Care Home.

"For many of our young people writing a letter is not a common activity, but having launched the pen-pal scheme they have recognised that through the art of letter writing it is a brilliant way for them to remain connected and would be extremely valued by the residents.

"I think they have discovered that the writing and receiving of letters offers an experience that modern technology cannot deliver."

Tonbridge House Care Home resident, Jean, reading letters written by students from The Hayesbrook School
Tonbridge House Care Home resident, Jean, reading letters written by students from The Hayesbrook School

The first set of letter to residents at the Quarry Hill Road care home arrived earlier this month.

Andy Roberts, the home's leisure and wellness coordinator, said "The pen-pal scheme is great idea, especially at this moment in time, as families and friends of the residents are having less frequent contact with their loved ones.

"The letters our residents have received have brought with them a great boost or moral and lifted their spirits. There’s something very special about knowing that someone has taken the time to write a hand-written letter for you.

"The students are doing something very simple that is making others very happy and on behalf the residents I would like to thank them and hope there will be a time soon, when they can visit all together."

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