Retirement community pen pals

Macclesfield primary school children become pen pals with Homeowners at The Bridges

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4th Jun Developments

A group of local primary school children and homeowners from a retirement living community have been exchanging cards and letters as part of a letter writing project.

Pupils from Puss Bank School and Nursery initially made Easter cards for some of the homeowners at The Bridges, the Adlington Retirement Living community on Buxton Road, and since then, the new ‘pen pals’ have exchanged letters.

Alexandra Johnson, Sales and Marketing Director for Adlington Retirement Living, said: “We started the letter writing project just as the children returned to school after the third lockdown. At a time when Zoom calls and instant messaging are so prevalent, we thought it would be fun to introduce letter writing to a new generation and it’s a lovely way to connect with our local community. The project has been very well received by our homeowners. They felt really uplifted when they received the first handmade cards from the children.”

After receiving the cards, the retired homeowners from The Bridges wrote a reply to each pupil, sharing stories from their own school days.

One homeowner wrote: “We hope you are enjoying being back at school with your friends after being away for so long. When I was 4 years old my Mum put me on a bus on my own to go to Rainow Primary School. We had bus conductors in those days who took your money and gave you a ticket, and they helped us cross the road to the school.”

Another wrote: “I wonder whether you have a long walk to school like I did when I was a little girl. Sometimes I had a penny to spend on the way so I went into a little shop and asked to see the ‘penny tray’. The shopkeeper brought out a tray covered in tasty things, each costing just one penny. I chose a chocolate or sweet and ate it at playtime. That was before the war when most things (clothes, food etc.) were rationed – then chocolates and sweets became a real luxury. Happily my grandpa saved his sweet coupons for me and my sisters, although he loved sweet things himself. Wasn’t that kind of him?”

The project has been coordinated by Matt Cooper, Learning Mentor & Safeguarding Mental Health Lead at Puss Bank School and Nursery.

Mr Cooper said: “We were so pleased when Adlington Retirement Living got in touch with us with the idea. This project has been a really lovely way for some of our pupils to get to know a different generation from of our local community. The children were so excited to receive their letters and to work on their replies. We’re hoping that at some point in the future, when it’s safe to do so, we may be able to arrange an outdoor visit to The Bridges so that some of the children can meet their new ‘pen friends’.”