Penpal to Granpal

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

Ageless Teenagers Community Hub and the Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford have recently launched an intergenerational project, aiming to spread some Christmas cheer between younger and older generations.

Pupils from local primary schools, St Edwards Church Of England Primary School, Hylands Primary School, Broadford Primary School and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, have designed a Christmas card with a message and a question to a senior person across the boroughs of Havering and Redbridge. With many children not having the experience of communicating with a grandparent or senior person, the project is a great way for children to learn about old Christmas traditions and to hear stories from the past.

The senior person will then write back to the child and become their pen pal, or in this instance ‘grand pal’, which will be sent via community hub Ageless Teenagers.

With now almost 400 members, Ageless Teenagers who are based in The Liberty, was set up by Weininger and Janice Irwin, to prevent isolation of seniors within the community, and to allow older people from all backgrounds to meet new people, socialise and learn various skills.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and physical distancing regulations, many senior people across the world have experienced increased feelings of loneliness and isolation. The Liberty set up the letter exchange to allow two generations to communicate together and to safely spread some festive magic to local people.

Centre Manager at The Liberty, Jonathan Poole, said: “We are delighted with the response to our Intergenerational Christmas letter exchange.

“We would like to thank all of the schools and pupils who got involved and we hope the letters bring together our local community this Christmas.”

Weininger Irwin from Ageless Teenagers added: “We are grateful to The Liberty and the local schools for getting involved with this project and our seniors are delighted to take part!”

“2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and we are sure these letters will bring happiness to our Ageless Teenagers!”

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