Northampton primary school class boost spirits of care home residents by becoming their pen pals

Emilia Ciosek, Zofia Fiega, Irene Brown (93), Rhoda Ajayi and Denise Diabate.
Emilia Ciosek, Zofia Fiega, Irene Brown (93), Rhoda Ajayi and Denise Diabate.

A year 4 class have befriended residents in their eighties and nineties at a Northampton care home by exchanging letters.

Eight and nine year olds at Green Oaks Primary Academy have been busy swapping letters with elderly residents at Boughton Lodge Care Home in Kingsthorpe where the old and young discuss topics including their favourite holidays, pets, family and home countries.

Shae Fitzpatrick, Louise Legg, Gladys Mills (95), Jaiden Mahoney-Punkard and Courtney O'Sullivan.

Shae Fitzpatrick, Louise Legg, Gladys Mills (95), Jaiden Mahoney-Punkard and Courtney O'Sullivan.

Yesterday (March 26) 29 students visited the care home where they got to sit down and meet their pen pals for the first time.

Sarah Holland, registered care home manager said: "It's nice for them to learn what this generation is doing and vice versa. They love seeing children - it's a great healer.

"To hear that many other children have lived in two or three countires and ended up in Kingsthorpe, they find that amazing.

"They [the residents] will be tired but it was well worth it. Every resident is smiling from ear to ear."

Zakaria Islam with Norah Finney (97).

Zakaria Islam with Norah Finney (97).

In groups the children, and their classroom teacher, Mrs Skelton, have so far exchanged four letters each in eight weeks in a bid to learn about the residents wartime memories - while learning how to be empathetic.

Rachel Smith, activities co-ordinator at the care home said: "I think it's important that the elderly residents keep in contact with the younger generation.

"Two or three residents have really taken to it and one of the residents yesterday said 'another letter? It will make me cry'. It's good for their wellbeing and giving them positive input."

Yesterday pupil Jaiden Mahoney-Punkard gave 95-year-old Gladys Mills a poem which he had written especially for her about his dog, Rolo.

Other children helped their pen pals look at photographs and complete word searches about cats.

Class teacher, Mrs Skelton said: "Most of them have never recieved a letter in their lives - it's mostly texts and emails. When they recieve the letters they are just so excited. For us we are just trying to build up an idea of community."