12 August 2021
The art of letter-writing may not be as widely used these days, but that doesn’t make it any less special.
Writing a letter to a friend, family member or loved one is an incredibly enjoyable thing to do and it can be extremely rewarding when you receive a letter too.
Residents at Balcon Court got the chance to write and receive letters when they took part in a Pen Pal scheme put together by Development Manager, Jahshel Douglas.
Jash came up with the idea to help residents through lockdown. Quite a number of them got involved and it was such a huge hit. Instead of running for the initial six weeks, it ran for 11 and some have kept it up permanently!
“I introduced the scheme quite early on in the pandemic to help combat loneliness and to keep minds active,” explains Jash, who also initiated a daily riddle competition and weekly newsletter, alongside FirstPort’s weekly entertainment packs.
Residents were asked to write to each other anonymously, trying not to give too much away, but gathering information to pinpoint who they were writing to at the same time.
It wasn’t until lockdown was over, that residents discovered the identity of their Pen Pals at a special socially-distanced Big Reveal party.
Maggie Beirne took part in the project and wrote to fellow resident Wendy Carson every Friday.
“I enjoy writing letters almost as much as receiving them,” Maggie explains. “As our correspondence continues, whether we are in lockdown or not, I hope to learn more about Wendy’s life abroad with her Russian born husband.”
Meanwhile, Wendy really enjoyed learning all about Maggie’s life too. “I loved Jash’s idea of a Pen Pal scheme. She’s an outstanding Development Manager and puts her heart and soul into looking after us,” says Wendy.
“I wasn’t surprised to learn it was Maggie I’d been writing to when we had our Big Reveal. Before lockdown, we used to play Scrabble together and I remember her mentioning different places she lived in the world, but my poor hearing made it difficult for us to chat. Now we write to each other, that is not a problem.”
As our correspondence continues, whether we are in lockdown or not, I hope to learn more about Wendy’s life abroad with her Russian husband.