Letters of hope bring joy

Age UK Northamptonshire welcomed a generous donation of over 100 letters from pupils at Abbeyfield School in Northampton. The letters have been delivered to older people across Northamptonshire and have bought joy and happiness to older people who are isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the school closed its doors following Government guidance, students decided to turn their attention to helping support older people in their community. They raised £1082 through a non-uniform day, collected donations of essential food items and wrote letters of encouragement to people who are feeling particularly lonely and isolated because of the lockdown.

The money raised is helping the locally registered and funded charity to continue their emergency service, which includes:

- Creating and delivering emergency food packages for older people.

- Preparing and delivering hot, two-course lunches.

- Carrying out welfare checks and making adaptations in people’s homes where necessary.

- Carrying out shopping, dropping off medication and other essential supplies.

- Providing information and advice which includes benefit claims and checks.

- Telephone befriending.

The letters have been delivered to older people via Age UK Northamptonshire’s emergency delivery service which is supporting over 300 people a week. The service was put in place to support the most vulnerable across Northamptonshire and is being coordinated from the charity’s Northampton day centre, the Venton Centre.

One touching letter of support from a Year 10 student reads: “I know that you are probably scared and feel alone but you are not. The Abbeyfield School community is right behind you ready to help.”

Fern Overton, Age UK Northants Day Care and Transport Services Manager said “The letters were amazing, so thoughtful and encouraging and have really shown our clients that they haven’t been forgotten. The letters have been delivered and feedback has been really positive. They have bought a smile to the faces of many and given people a real boost.”

Siona Robson, Principal of Abbeyfield School said “I am so proud of our fabulous students and staff. The fundraising day, despite everything, was such a positive, purposeful day. As a school we raised £1,082 for Age UK Northamptonshire. This is an incredible sum considering we had depleted numbers. I’m so pleased the cards that students made, and their lovely, positive messages have made a difference.”

The success of the letters donated by pupils at Abbeyfield School has seen Age UK Northamptonshire appeal for more “messages of hope”. Young people are being encouraged to send electronic pictures, cards, and letters via email to fundraising@ageuknorthants.org.uk which can then be printed and delivered.

Age UK Northamptonshire is also welcoming donations from individuals and businesses of essential items such as:

- Tinned food

- Soup, pasta, rice

- Cleaning products and toilet roll

- Entertainment - Jigsaw puzzles, card games, crosswords, sudoku and books.

To arrange safe drop off, email fundraising@ageuknorthants.org.uk or call 01604 604500. Outside of business hours please contact 07900 228 057.

The charity has set up a Coronavirus emergency Just Giving page raising money to support their work which can be accessed: justgiving.com/campaign/coronavirusappealAgeUKNorthamptonshire