News articles - 2021

Pen Pals Project

Date: 26 April 2021

Staying connected throughout the pandemic is a challenge many of us have faced. For our residents at Cranbrook however, many of whom have been shielding, keeping in touch with neighbours was possible thanks to some great thinking from one of our onsite care workers, Alayna.


Alayna, who works for Carewatch, wanted to do something to help tackle isolation and loneliness during this difficult time, so she started a resident pen pals group within the scheme. The project has been hugely successful, and had such a positive impact that we’ve decided to roll it out at other schemes.  


We asked Alayna to share how she got the pen pals group started:


“It began in January when a resident received a letter from a neighbour. After going for so long without much contact, she was so happy to receive a letter that wasn't a bill or someone trying to sell something. For three days she was so content, and it gave her something positive to do. This sparked the idea of starting some sort of pen pals mailing group; giving people who might not have had the chance to start a conversation with their neighbours the opportunity to.


Following this, I organised a letter to be sent out to everyone in the building, giving them the option to be included in what we have named ‘the pen pals group’ and asking for a little additional information about themselves.


The letters officially started being posted by residents on Friday 19 February. Many have just liked the fact they are using a pen and paper!


The group gives everyone the opportunity to have someone to write to and to make new friends. I have carefully tried to match people using their additional information, and so far, it has had some amazingly positive feedback from those involved.


Just knowing that something as simple as a letter has helped people feel more connected with each other during this lonely time has been just wonderful, and I hope to get more residents involved.


All it took was a cardboard box, some paper and a little of my time! I would love for other places to adopt this idea to help us all feel more connected”.

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