It goes without saying that the past year has been an extremely challenging one, with the COVID-19 pandemic completely changing how most of us have been able to go about our lives.
Unable to see our loved ones or enjoy the activities we usually would, the pandemic has left many feeling isolated, particularly elderly and vulnerable members of the community who may be living alone, need to shield or are less mobile.
These feelings of loneliness and a disconnection from the outside world are only too familiar for the residents at Simonsfield Residential Care Home in Anfield.
Having been in lockdown since last March, the residents have felt isolated from their family and friends. Many have been confined to their rooms to protect their health and opportunities to go outside have been severely limited. Visitors have been unable to pop in, residents unable to meet and socialise, and families unable to travel due to government restrictions.
Dawn Lowe, activities coordinator at Simonsfield Residential Care Home, said: “It really hasn’t been an easy time for a lot of our residents, welcoming visitors or socialising amongst themselves is a huge highlight for many of the people we have in our care. But of course, COVID-19 has made this extremely difficult and has meant that many people have felt quite isolated from their loved ones. Getting through each day can be a challenge when you’re confined to staying inside and you don’t know when you’ll next be able to see your friends and family.”
Continuing with its commitment of keeping people like the residents of Simonfield connected during this difficult time, Liverpool FC recently launched a new initiative to help combat the issue of social isolation, as part of its LFC Connect campaign.
In a bid to support its older and vulnerable neighbours who may be feeling lonely, the club began encouraging supporters to become a ‘Red Pal’ and brighten someone’s day by drawing a picture, writing a letter or producing a poem to send to a member of the local community.
When they heard about the scheme, the children at Millstead Primary School just had to get involved and were immediately on hand to spread some ‘Millstead Magic’. They got to work straight away, producing an array of artwork to really make a difference to the residents at Simonsfield during this difficult time.
Michelle Beard, headteacher at Millstead Primary School, said: “The children really enjoyed being creative and, in some cases, getting really messy! The Red Pals campaign is wonderful, I am proud that our children were able to help to make our older generation smile and make their day. Our community is more important than ever, and with families not being able to see their loved ones, a small gesture can really mean a lot.
“When we were told that every resident from the care home received a card or a picture, we were overwhelmed. The children and staff were delighted that we were able to make someone smile.”
Dawn added: “It was such a lovely and thoughtful surprise for the residents to receive these wonderful drawings from the children in the Red Pals scheme - it really cheered them up and made a huge difference to them. Many residents commented that it made them feel like there was still life going on outside in the community and it was delightful to still feel a part of this. It really helped to make them feel like they are connected to something that has brought us together virtually.
“Everyone here at Simonsfield Care Home would like to say a massive thankyou to the children and staff at Millstead and also to LFC for thinking of us and bringing a smile to our faces in these hard times.”
Millstead Primary School is now on a mission to spread more of its magic throughout the community and has pledged to make sure that all residents in care homes within the Red Neighbours area receive a gift from its budding artists, as part of the Red Pals initiative.
Fans wishing the join the Reds Pals club just need to send their creations via email to RedNeighbours@liverpoolfc.com and they will then be sent to some of the oldest residents around the Anfield area to bring a smile to their face and show they’re not alone during the pandemic.