In an effort to combat social isolation, our 'Letters to the Elderly' project sees local pupils writing letters to our clients in a bid to put an end to loneliness.
In 2021 Home Instead Sheffield and Barnsley took part in Marmalade Trust’s ‘Loneliness Awareness Week’, where we became inspired to do more to help our local communities in an effort to tackle loneliness and isolation.
Our idea was to create a project that would combat social isolation in the Sheffield and Barnsley area by contacting local schools, one local to each of our three offices, and propose the project of their students writing a letter, card or drawing a portrait for our wonderful clients.
The response we received was simply fantastic, from teachers, our staff & children. Louisa, a teacher from Hoyland Common Primary, wrote: “We have had a lovely morning writing letters & drawing portraits for Home Instead’s project, thank you for the opportunity, the children loved it!”
The first school we got in touch with was the brilliant St Mary’s, a local primary school in Barnsley. We were delighted to receive an amazing 31 letters from their students, all detailed with conversations subjects such as their favourite colours, food, hobbies, as well as including their own drawings.
We soon gave them out to each of our clients, matching them to the client we thought would best fit each letter. We were also keen to enable the clients and children to build a connection, so we also offered our clients the opportunity to respond with a thank you letter!
Following our success at St Mary’s Primary School, we reached out to the Headteacher at Laithes Primary and organised a meeting with Ms. Gemma Mulrey, Year 4 Teacher, to discuss running the project at their school.
A project such as this, Gemma explained, was a fantastic opportunity for the children to connect with some elders, particularly if they don’t have parents or grandparents of their own, in a personal way; writing a letter.
Aside from this benefit, the project taught the kids more on writing physically with a pen and paper; something that nowadays is used less due to technology.
Once the children had completed writing their letters we decided to make an extra-special trip to collect them, bringing alone one our clients, Anne, to meet them all. We were so delighted to see how enthusiastic the children were to connect with Anne about her life!
We are looking to expand this project to Sheffield in the new academic year. If any schools in Sheffield would like to get involved in the project for 2023/2024, let us know!
Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected]