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Burnham project helping to combat loneliness and create intergenerational links receives funding

A project aiming to help combat loneliness and strengthen links between older and younger generations has received funding.

The Beeches Community Board funding for the Pen-Pal project was granted at a meeting on Wednesday, February 17.

Subgroups tasked with seeking ways to support older and vulnerable people, as well as youngsters, recommended the project for funding from the board.

The project, which is a collaboration between Burnham Resilience CIO, Burnham Health Promotion Trust (BHPT), St Peter’s CofE Primary School and elderly residents in Burnham, looks to encourage older and younger generations to write letters or send puzzles to one another on a regular basis.

The funding will cover costs of envelopes, writing paper and postage for 30 older people and 30 children.

It is currently a pilot project in Burnham, but if it is successful organisers are hoping to roll it out in other parishes and schools and linking with BHPT’s established Burnham Intergenerational Programme.

Cllr David Anthony, chair of the Beeches Community Board, said: “This wonderful project will help to bridge the gap between younger and older residents.

“Like many of the best ideas, it’s a simple but effective way to make a world of difference to those involved.

“I’m looking forward to hearing how the project progresses in its aim to improve the lives of two groups most affected by the pandemic.”

Paula Prince from Burnham Resilience CIO, co-founder of the project, said: “We’re delighted that the community board is supporting our project, which will potentially make such a difference to everyone involved, in a safe way during the current COVID-19 restrictions which are affecting us all so much.”

She added: “With loneliness being such a huge problem, which has been highlighted due to the pandemic, this project will, hopefully, help in a small way to combat this problem.

“It’s also good for the young people who may not have been able to have a close relationship with their grandparents or may have lost grandparents due to COVID.

“Children can learn so much from the elderly and vice versa. Anything that can strengthen these ties is a good thing.

“It is hoped that this project will become part of the very successful Intergenerational Project run by BHPT and go on to benefit many elderly residents and children.”

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