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Aged care residents create a penpalship with NSW bushfire affected community

Tags: Residential Aged Care

Letters and man holding a letter

Residents from Wesley Mission Queensland’s Cooper House aged care community in Chermside have picked up the pen and become old-fashioned pen pals with residents in the bushfire-affected community of Bowraville in New South Wales (NSW).

While COVID-19 has been dominating the media, residents and staff from Cooper House had not forgotten about those that had been affected by the bushfires earlier this year. Many of the residents were already knitting joey and koala pouches, but they felt they needed to do more to show their love and support.

96-year-old Betty Milward said residents at Cooper House were keen t to write letters to the Bowraville community located on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

“We knew that so many people had been affected by the bushfires and many would be feeling isolated and lost, so our idea was to adopt a community and show them our support by writing letters,” Betty Milward said.

“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve written and sent six letters to people in Bowraville in NSW along with some beanies and animal pouches that we’ve knitted and some writing packs so that they can write to us when they have the chance. We hope it helps them to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.”

Angela Jacobsen, the Lifestyle and Leisure Coordinator at Cooper House, said the residents knew how important connection and communication was in these challenging times.

“Our residents are so conscious of staying connected and being part of the wider community. This is their way of making a difference in the lives of people going through a difficult time,” Ms Jacobsen said.

The letters were well received with Rebecca Beverley, who helped to set up the bushfire recovery centre in Bowraville, thanking the residents at Cooper House for their letters and gifts.

“When we first opened the recovery, people were feeling hopeless, disconnected and scared. So, I started the ‘bad day book’ which included messages of hope and love from people in the community,” Ms Beverley said.

“The beautiful letters from the residents at Cooper House are now part of the book – the kind words and messages from these lovely strangers have really helped to lift the spirits of people in our community.”

Residents are continuing to write their heartfelt letters to those affected and are comforted to know that their words can improve someone’s day.

Want to learn more about Wesley Mission Queensland’s residential aged care communities? Visit our webpage.