Forget social media. Kind-hearted high school pupils have been honing their writing skills by helping the elderly.
The Year 10s at Holy Cross Catholic High in Chorley have been putting pen to paper as part of a scheme being piloted by Chorley Council to help bridge the generation gap and reach out to the older people who may be lonely.
They started by writing letters to care homes and the response was so good they set up a pen pal scheme, under the auspices of the school’s lay chaplain, Linda Walmsley.
The pupils say they are enjoying writing and receiving letters – and also learned a lot.
The Myles Standish Way school has worked with Chorley Council to develop the initiative after they heard about the high number of people living alone or becoming socially isolated in the town.
They are also trying to help young people to understand that older people have really relevant and interesting life experiences and want to share them.
Mrs Walmsley embraced the project and the pupils discussed what they could do to take it forward. They researched social isolation and loneliness by watching hard hitting information videos online.
Linda said: “ There were a lot of ideas but pen pals is simple and do-able. We contacted all the care homes and have had a good response but it is only the start of our project.
“The pupils are so excited when they receive a letter, they all come through me to monitor the responses, and the pupils are also learning new skills.
“They are learning how to write letters and the art of communication – which isn’t always done nowadays.
“We are hoping to expand the project.”
Anyone who knows someone who could benefit from the project can contact the school.