Christmas cheer sent with love from Glasgow schools to care homes

By Ann Fotheringham

Senior features writer

Christmas cheer sent with love from Glasgow schools to care homes

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THE messages are simple and touching, the cheery cards bright and full of festive cheer.

“Hope you are safe and well in these difficult times,” reads one, while another says: “We hope we will all be able to meet up again soon.”

These are Christmas cards with a difference, sent with love from a bunch of creative and kind-hearted primary school pupils to care homes across the city.

The project is the brainchild of Volunteer Glasgow, which has teamed up with The Campaign to End Loneliness and Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) to make sure everyone is aware of the services on offer as a difficult year draws to a close.

Around 20 schools took part, including Notre Dame Primary in the west end.

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Teacher Mhairi Thompson explains: “The children were really enthusiastic about taking part and worked hard on creating some beautiful cards and decorations, we are all incredibly proud of them. Their messages were so thoughtful.”

She adds: “Everyone knows how hard this year has been on people living in care homes and their families. We hope our cards will spread a little bit of festive joy this Christmas.”

Nicola Ross, activities co-ordinator at Victoria Gardens, a 70-bed home in Knightswood, said residents were ‘over the moon’ to receive beautiful decorations and messages from the children at Notre Dame, Blairdardie and Broomhill Primaries.

“It has been absolutely wonderful,” says Nicola. “All the residents are overjoyed. This year has been so difficult, so it is fantastic to end it like this.

“One of our residents, Patricia, has been showing off her card and decorations to everyone, she is so delighted with it.

“We gave the children the first names of our residents so they could personalise each card, and that has worked brilliantly. It’s something really special, after an incredibly challenging time.”

Like many care homes across the city, Victoria Gardens has had to cancel all of its external activity providers who would normally come in to entertain and work with the residents.

“We have also been unable to bring the local nursery children back in, which has been heartbreaking as our residents absolutely love their visits,” says Nicola.

“This lovely project has allowed us to bring back some of those community links, which is so important to us all and this year, more than ever.”

She smiles: “It has been very special.”

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No-one should ever feel lonely – which is why volunteer organisations in Glasgow are joining together to provide a ‘winter survival guide’ for the elderly, the vulnerable and the lonely.

Find out more from Good Morning Service (info@goodmorningservice.co.uk 0141 336 7766), telephone befriending and alert service which provides emotional and practical support; Lifelink (www.lifelink.org.uk 0141 552 4434) which provides mental health and counselling services; Glasgow Helps (www.glasgowhelps.org) which helps vulnerable people find the support they need; and COPE Scotland (www.cope-scotland.org 0141 944 5490) a mental and emotional health support service.