"Pass on a Smile" - Children cheer shielders up

Letters of support and encouragement from local children have been produced and passed on for delivery to Darlington residents staying at home.

Darlington Support, the local charity set up to help residents during the Coronavirus crisis, has received letters and cards from children local to McColl’s on North Road posted in their "Pass on a Smile” postbox, as well as from pupils of schools across Darlington, to keep the spirits up of those who are shielding at home.

With the help of Sarah Small, Darlington Partnership Programme Officer at Darlington Borough Council, pupils from Skerne Park Academy, Red Hall Primary School, Heighington Church of England Primary School and Mount Pleasant Primary School have all participated in the project, producing beautiful letters, cards and pictures. In addition, the pupils of St. Mary's Cockerton Primary School and the Federation of Abbey Schools will be submitting theirs in the next few days.

As a result, volunteers who are collecting shopping and prescriptions for residents staying at home are able to include the cheerful letters from the children with the items delivered. All necessary precautions are taken and the letters and cards are quarantined for a period of time before distribution.

Lisa Walker, deputy area coordinator and volunteer who is assisting the “Letters to Shielders” initiative, said: "I've seen first-hand the effect the children's cheerful artwork and cards are having on those stuck at home - big smiles as well as some happy tears. Would also like to say a big thank you to Joanne Hall, a local resident who kindly constructed and decorated the postbox to enable the children to post the letters at McColl’s, but most of all thank you to the children who will never realise the positive effect their creations are having on people.”

Simon Howard, who leads a team of volunteers for Darlington Support in the North Road area, commented: “For some of the residents that we help each day throughout Darlington, who have been shielding with very little interaction with the outside world for over 14 weeks now, the idea of the letters and pictures done by the children have brought a smile and happiness in these unusual times not only with residents who have received them but also with the volunteers delivering them as well.”

Sarah Small, who liaised with the schools to arrange their participation in the project, added: “It has been an amazing opportunity for the town’s children to get involved in sharing a much needed message whether it be a letter, a picture or a postcard to residents who have been in isolation for a number of weeks. I am thrilled with the response and the variety of imaginative artwork to distribute. I am sure each and every piece will make residents smile.”

If any other Darlington schools would like to take part in this project before the end of the term, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line: "Letters to Shielders".


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