Banbridge pupils post letters of kindness to care homes

A pilot project in conjunction with the ABC Loneliness Network has created a ‘Kindness Post Box’ in the Southern Trust area.

Edenderry PS pupils with their art work
Edenderry PS pupils with their art work

The original idea for the ‘Kindness Post Box’ came from Fermanagh woman Nuala O’Toole at the start of the pandemic.

A community focussed venture, across generations, the idea is for children to write a cheerful letter, draw a picture or card and then post it into a specially created post box.

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All mail is collected and distributed to care home residents and those who may be separated from family and friends to give them a little something to smile about.

Bridge PS Vice Principal and pupils with Fidelma Ruddy representing the ABC Loneliness Network

The pilot took place in the Banbridge and Lurgan areas where local primary schools including Bridge Integrated Primary School, Ballydown Primary School and St. Mary’s Primary School took part.

Ozanam Men’s Shed in Lurgan, led by Michael Cairns, made the post boxes and these were delivered to participating Primary Schools and community venues. After a period of time in quarantine, the post was delivered to nursing homes across the Craigavon and Banbridge area including Spelga Mews in Banbridge, Mahon Hall in Portadown and Belvedere Residential Home in Lurgan.

Promoting Wellbeing Manager for Craigavon and Banbridge Sinead Taylor said: “This project was so well received and the children who took part were very enthusiastic and wanted to know all about the residents. Residents in the care homes are looking forward to sending some return post.”

She added: “The ‘Kindness Post Box’ is a way of enabling those who may feel isolated and are separated from loved ones to feel connected through a thoughtful, hand written card, letter or picture. We want to highlight how small acts of kindness can have a huge impact.”

Resident and staff member from St. Francis Care Home.

Gerard Rocks, Assistant Director for Promoting Wellbeing added: “The aim of the ABC Loneliness Network is to raise awareness of the public health impact of loneliness and to improve the lives of people in our communities who are experiencing loneliness.

“A major consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic for many older adults has been isolation from family and friends but loneliness affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Staying connected with others is essential to physical and mental wellbeing.”

ABC Loneliness Network plan to expand the pilot further in 2022. If your school, care home or organisation would like to take part contact [email protected] or [email protected] or phone 028 3756 3949.

Ballydown PS pupils with their art work