Chartwell House Launches Community Kindness Project to Combat Social Isolation in Thanet

Thanet's Chartwell House care home is launching a community initiative aimed at connecting children and the elderly to combat loneliness and isolation. The project, called the Community Kindness Project, encourages children to write letters to elderly residents, sharing experiences, stories, and life lessons to build friendships and foster understanding between the generations.

Loneliness and social isolation are significant issues affecting a large number of older people, with Age UK reporting that more than two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million go for over a month without speaking to anyone. The Community Kindness Project aims to address this issue in Thanet by connecting elderly residents with the wider community and promoting positive social interaction.

Diane Collins, Home Manager at Chartwell House, spoke about the inspiration behind the project, stating, “We wanted to find a way to bring together different generations in the community and combat the isolation and loneliness that many elderly people face. By encouraging children to write letters to our residents and those living in the community, we hope to not only provide companionship but also create an opportunity for the sharing of knowledge and life lessons.”

The project will begin by partnering with Cliftonville Primary School, Margate, where students will be given the opportunity to write letters to residents at Chartwell House and those living in the community. The letters will be collected by Chartwell House and then passed on to residents, who will then be able to respond and continue the correspondence.

Through this project, children will not only be given an opportunity to practice their writing skills but also develop empathy, respect, and kindness towards older people. Letter writing is a unique way to communicate, and it offers children an opportunity to learn and express themselves creatively while forming new friendships through pen and paper.

In addition to the partnership with Cliftonville Primary School, the project is also being run in association with Caremark, a leading local provider of domiciliary care services. Caremark will be facilitating the letter writing between their carers and those receiving home care, with local school children, helping to further connect the generations in the local community.

Diane added, “We’re excited to launch this project and see the positive impact it will have on both the children and the elderly residents involved. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to learn from each other and build new friendships.”

As the project continues to develop, there are plans to host in-person events to bring the pen pals together, fostering even stronger connections between the generations. These events will provide an opportunity for the children to meet the elderly residents face to face, learn from their experiences, and share in activities together.

The benefits of intergenerational programs like this are well-documented, with studies showing improved social skills, decreased negative attitudes towards aging, and increased empathy and understanding between the generations.

To get involved in the Chartwell House Community Kindness Project, children can speak to their class teacher to learn more about how to participate.

Local elderly residents who would like to be involved can send a postcard to Chartwell House with their address and an introduction of themselves.

Chartwell House, 26 Draco Drive, Off Star Lane, Broadstairs, CT9 4FY

Chartwell House will then pass on the postcard to their partner schools, and will connect residents with pupils to facilitate the letter-writing project.

The Chartwell House Community Kindness Project is set to be a model for community engagement, demonstrating the power of simple acts of kindness to create connections and promote well-being.