Pensioners at Leeds care homes in pen pal project to fight loneliness

A LETTER writing project to combat loneliness for older people living alone in Leeds has been launched at three care homes.

David Wood, Anchors community partnership manager with Val Ashford, Ann Paul and Maureen Jones, residents at Halcyon Court care home in in Cliff Road, Headingley. Pensioners living at Halcyon Court - along with residents at Beech Hall in Armley, and Oak Tree Lodge in Gipton - have designed postcards that will be placed in community hubs across the city. The aim is for people to send the postcards back to the residents so they can start writing to each other. Picture: Tony Johnson

Five pensioners living at care homes Halcyon Court in Headingley, Beech Hall in Armley and Oak Tree Lodge in Gipton, have designed postcards which are set to be be placed in community hubs across Leeds.

Residents have painted their own designs on the front of the postcards, which include their name and care home address and some details about why they chose the design.

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David Wood, Anchors community partnership manager with Val Ashford, Ann Paul and Maureen Jones, residents at Halcyon Court care home in in Cliff Road, Headingley. Pensioners living at Halcyon Court - along with residents at Beech Hall in Armley, and Oak Tree Lodge in Gipton - have designed postcards that will be placed in community hubs across the city. The aim is for people to send the postcards back to the residents so they can start writing to each other. Picture: Tony Johnson

It is hoped people will send the postcards back to residents so they can start writing letters to each other.Great-grandmother Maureen Jones, 81, who moved in to Halcyon Court last April after living in the Woodhouse area of Leeds all her life, said: “I’m particularly surprised to be involved as I’ve never really been that artistic but it’s been fun.

"I think this writing project is a good idea and I’m looking forward to writing to people across Leeds. I might even become famous.”

Halcyon Court resident Ann Paul, 80, said: “I’m pleased that my design is on the front of the postcards. My family won’t believe it.

“I’m looking forward to writing to people because I enjoy writing letters. It’s a nice way of making friends.

Postcards designed by care home residents in Leeds

“I used to write letters to a girl who came to stay with us and then went back to Australia where she had a sheep farm.”

David Wood, Anchor’s community partnership manager, who organised the campaign, said: “The postcards will be placed in Leeds Art Gallery, cafés and GP surgeries in the city. We hope that people will take the chance to start corresponding with our residents.

“We particularly hope that older people living alone will send the postcard back so that they can build up a friendship with someone of a similar age.

"Loneliness is a killer so we hope that these postcards will be a life-line for lonely older people.”

Anyone wanting to find out about the project can contact David Wood at Halcyon Court on 0800 0854319.