NAPA Arts in Care Homes
Aim was to make care homes feel less isolated during the lockdown and to provide an opportunity for the general public to show their support of the care sector and make a personal connection with an individual care home.
The project works with volunteer penpals and is part of the National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA).
What is the impact and benefit for people
This project is mutually beneficial for both parties: the care homes and their volunteer penpals. Care homes feel they are supported and appreciated. The pen pal letters raise morale amongst residents and staff and also, in some cases, suggest activity ideas to try with residents. The project gives volunteers a sense of purpose and motivation and encourage them to be creative and share artwork and poems as well as messages of support.
So far we have linked up over 200 care homes with volunteer penpals from across the UK and further afield in Japan and Australia. Requests keep on coming and we will continue to link homes up with penpals as long as we get submissions.
Care homes have particularly loved receiving artwork and poetry and making contact with children and young people.
We developed a weekly postcard challenge for primary school children and are hoping to develop other resources to encourage more creative exchanges between partners, focussing on a resource for young people and a poetry resource so homes can become Poem Pen Pals.
Is the solution sustainable post Covid?
Yes we will continue to encourage people to sign-up to become Only Connect PenPals post Covid-19 and will look at developing the project further in ways described above.
We also want to encourage care homes to become penpals with other care homes, to share ideas for creative activities and offer peer support.