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Haverhill students make their school 'PROUD' with care home correspondence




The head teacher at a Haverhill school whose students are corresponding with care home residents through a volunteer letter-writing scheme has emphasised its value to all parties involved.

Some students at Castle Manor Academy have joined the scheme set up by Stradishall-based charity YOPEY.

Called @IwanttohelpCareHomeResidents, it invites anyone aged five to 25 to write a letter that is sent to YOPEY before it is then passed on to a care home, from where it is handed to a resident.

Castle Manor Academy student Lauren Dickin holding her YOPEY letter and certificate copy. Contributed picture
Castle Manor Academy student Lauren Dickin holding her YOPEY letter and certificate copy. Contributed picture

Vanessa Whitcombe, headteacher at Castle Manor Academy, said the initiative was part of a wider ranging award in place at the school.

She said: “The YOPEY letter writing is part of our ‘Virtual PROUD award’ where students are encouraged to complete various tasks that are aligned with our PROUD values of the school.

“These include wellbeing activities, kindness to others, working hard on home work and physical and creative activities.

“The YOPEY letter writing is a really lovely opportunity to connect with others outside of the immediate family and to share experiences whilst spreading a little joy to those in care homes who may be finding this time difficult.

“It is so important for us all to remain connected with each other during this lockdown period and the PROUD award really encourages this.

“I’m delighted every time we get a response to a letter and I know the students are too.”

Lauren Dickin, 15, a Year 10 student at Castle Manor Academy, has been a YOPEY Befriender since last autumn.

As a befriender, she visited The Meadows care home in Haverhill 26 times and gave 34 hours to residents before the lockdown.

Since the lockdown she has written one letter and received one reply from another care home.

Lauren outlined the reciprocal benefits of the befriending and letter-writing schemes that she is a part of.

She said: “It makes sure they know there are other people out there who still want to see them, especially as they don’t have anyone who would visit them.

“It makes me feel quite happy that they are happy about getting the letters.”


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