One of my favorite quotes is by Martin Luther: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
As the Editor of this Community News site and from my many years spent in the Advertising and Marketing industry, I have always appreciated the power of the pen, the strength of story and the wonder of words.
That’s why I’m so pleased to see that local Tameside residents are going back to basics by putting pen to paper for a local pen pal project with young people.
The intergenerational project called ‘Letter Links’ sees older residents team up with students from Denton Community College through their love of letter writing. By becoming pen pals, the residents and students are able to learn and understand what life is like for different generations.
The project was set up in May by housing association New Charter Homes and each group writes to each other once a month followed by a meet up at an organised lunch. The project aims to help older people at risk of social isolation to build relationships and gives the students an opportunity to develop their communication and letter writing skills.
So far the project has proven to be a huge success with 40 people taking part. The pen pals will soon be meeting for the first time at an afternoon tea event, which has been made possible by Ambition for Ageing, a fund available to help create age friendly communities.
Emma Wilson, Executive Director of Neighbourhoods at New Charter Homes comments, “This is a heart-warming project and a great example of what we do best in our communities. My team have loved working on bringing together different generations. Both students and residents are thoroughly enjoying it so far, and the residents feel they are helping the younger generations.”
Rose, 75 from Hyde, said: “I just thought it was a nice idea. It’s sad that writing letters is a lost art and I am pleased to pass on my stories and my writing skills.”
Denton College student Sophie, 12, said: “I’m excited to go and meet them because it was fun to hear about their lives. I really liked writing a letter and then reading their reply.”