Buxton nursing home residents thank Chapel High School penpals for Christmas letters

A Buxton nursing home has recently posted a batch of handwritten replies to Chapel-en-le-Frith school students who wrote them letters during the Christmas period as part of a project to strengthen social ties across the community.

By Ed Dingwall
Monday, 31st January 2022, 4:34 pm
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 4:35 pm

Residents at Portland Nursing Home, on Park Road, received the surprise letters from year seven youngsters at Chapel High School over the festive season.

Filled with funny anecdotes and adorned with beautiful drawings of rainbows, Christmas decorations and snowmen, they provided a timely dose of midwinter cheer.

The residents should have had plenty to write about in return, after a December filled with food, carols and Champagne.

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A resident of Portland nursing home posted the letters on behalf of her neighbours.

The home’s activities coordinator Emilie Shrimpton said: “It was so lovely for the residents to receive such kind letters from the school children over the Christmas period.

“It’s so important for our residents to feel connected to people of all ages in their local community. The residents have been eager to write their letters in response to the school children, so to post them recently was really exciting for them.”

Social connection is considered vital for elderly people to sustain good mental, emotional and physical health. Staying in touch with a surrounding community can provide a sense of comfort and togetherness for those with limited mobility, and is also a proactive hobby that encourages a better quality of life.

The two organisations are working to build the correspondence into an ongoing partnership which can help forge intergenerational friendships.

The residents were delighted by the surprise letters as they endured another Christmas under Covid restrictions.

Rosie Scott, a teacher who has been leading the initiative at the school, said: “It is wonderful to see our community coming together. The project has brought so much joy to our students.”

The penpal programme also includes Buxton Parish Churches, in order to enable residents to make new connections with other sections of the community, and postcards have been flying back and forth since last summer.

Portland currently has space available to welcome new residents, with a team of dedicated staff who provide around the clock specialist nursing and dementia care.

For more information, or to make an appointment to look around the home, call 01298 23040 or visit www.portlandnursinghome.co.uk.

The school students' letters included plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

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The project partners hope it will lead to intergenerational friendships.