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Sidcup care home residents strike up pen pal friendship with school students

Residents at a Sidcup care home have not let the pandemic stop them from making new friends.

An intergenerational pen pal initiative began was started between Care UK’s Smyth Lodge, on Frognal Avenue, and pupils at Gidea Park Primary School and Farrington School.

The first letters were sent earlier this year, and shared with residents during a reading aloud session at the home.

The pupils’ letters gave residents the opportunity to reminiscence on their own school days as they wrote back.

Resident at Smyth Lodge, Josephine Griffin said: “We are so thankful for the lovely letters we received and the effect the children’s writing had. It certainly brightened our day.

“I am delighted to receive a lovely bookmark too, which I have on display in my room for all to see.”

Josephine Griffin

Tracey Cheeseman, Home Manager at Smyth Lodge: “We were delighted to receive the very special letters from pupils at Gidea Park Primary School and Farrington School – and to see the smiles they brought to the residents faces as they were reading them.

“Intergenerational relationships have proven to be incredibly enriching, as they provide an opportunity for younger and older generations to learn from each other. These relationships can be particularly beneficial for older people, as they can offer a sense of purpose and prompt conversations as residents reflect back on their younger years.

“This is the beginning of a blossoming friendship between our home and the schools, and we look forward to taking these friendships off the page and meeting up in person as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we look forward to receiving more letters.”

Smyth Lodge has been designed to deliver the very best standards of care and to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives.

The state-of-the-art care home, which opened in 2019, provides full-time residential, nursing and specialist dementia care, and features a cinema, hair salon and activities room.

Pictured top: Resident Derek Bance with a letter

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