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Heart-warming letters shared between generations as part of pen pals project

Friendships have been forged between local primary school children and older, isolated individuals thanks to a letter writing project.

Published: Friday, 20th July 2018

The Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team set up a pen pals project in May as a way of tackling loneliness and isolation among older people across Swindon.

Year 6 pupils from Goddard Park Community Primary School have been using their literary skills as part of the Swindon Circles initiative, which provides friendship and companionship for an increasing number of older people in the town.

In the letters, the pen pals have shared stories about the Second World War and what life was like many years ago, while the children have recounted experiences of their SATs exams and their favourite hobbies.

With the project coming to an end, the children met their pen-pals at a tea party at the Wyvern Theatre yesterday (16 July).

Zurich Insurance Group supported the event, providing refreshments and activities for the tea party as well as funding taxis to transport some of the older people.

Cllr Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, said: “You can really feel the warmth and care coming through when you read these letters, which shows what a meaningful and successful project this has been.

“It’s lovely to see the bonds which have grown between these different generations and I’d like to thank the Wyvern Theatre and Zurich for helping us to host this tea party, giving those involved the chance to meet their pen pals face to face.”

Marie Barrett, Community Researcher at Swindon Borough Council, said: “This project is something that I’d seen work in another part of the country and decided to replicate it.

“As a team, we’ve found that over the Christmas period, there’s lots of activities for isolated people to attend and generally people want to reach out and help others. However, the rest of the year these people can feel more isolated.

“We wanted to find a way to create meaningful connections for people throughout the year to help their health and wellbeing and combat feelings of loneliness, and I think this project has been successful in doing just that.”

If you’d like more information about how you could get involved with Swindon Circles, please contact the Live Well Hub on 01793 465513.

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