Older people’s charity Independent Age and children from Newcastle teamed up to bring a spring smile to older people living in the North East this week.

Independent Age sent spring packs filled with community contributions to people over 65 who are matched with volunteers through the charity’s befriending service.

Independent Age chose to collaborate with Kenton Bar Primary School as their pupils have been learning about loneliness and how it affects people. The packs included drawings and messages from the school’s children, a poem from an older Teesside resident and locally sourced flowers.

The children of Kenton Bar were excited to take part in the project.

Year 1 teacher Danielle Smith said: “All of the children thoroughly enjoyed making cards and pictures to share with Independent Age, knowing that their cards and kind words will hopefully bring joy and good cheer to older people at Easter time.

“We hope that the cards and pictures made by the children will help to combat loneliness and bring smiles to the faces of those who have had to isolate during these difficult times.”

Many of the callers to the Independent Age helpline suffer from chronic loneliness and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated social isolation. This is especially pertinent for shielding older people who have not been able to socialise or take part in their normal activities.

Independent Age has recently made changes to its befriending service to help tackle loneliness. Service Manager for Tyne & Wear and Teesside Harriet Bendelow defined the new approach as: “going the extra mile to connect older people to communities and activities they enjoy so they can live happy and purposeful lives.”

She added: “With support  from our dedicated volunteers we are refocussing  our Community Service to encourage older people to identify the support they need. This might  include help with shopping or paperwork as well as introducing them to local community groups to increase their social connections.  It has been heart-warming to see the community rally to bring a smile to local older people. We’d like to thank the amazing staff and children at Kenton Bar Primary for their lovely contributions.”

For more information on Independent Age and the support they offer, see independentage.org

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Rowlands Gill resident Denis Willis receiving a spring package.

Rowlands Gill resident Denis Willis receiving a spring package.

Notes to editor

Photo 1: Rowlands Gill resident Denis Willis receiving a spring package.

For media enquiries please contact:

Joshua Hack

Media and PR Officer

T 020 7605 4266

M 078 4964 1286

E joshua.hack@independentage.org

About Independent Age

We offer regular friendly contact, a strong campaigning voice and free, impartial advice on the issues that matter to older people: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility. A charity founded over 150 years ago, we are independent so older people can be too.

For more information, visit our website www.independentage.org.

Arrange to speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email advice@independentage.org.

To make a donation or find out more about how you can support the work of Independent Age and help older people stay independent, please visit independentage.org/support-us.

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