Words – carry us through

Words: St Mary’s Church devised a method of keeping young adults in touch with the shielded in our community during lockdown.

During lockdown, young people from Wendover Youth Centre joined forces with St Mary’s Church as pen-pals for the self-isolating and notified vulnerable. Both young and old found these correspondences a really fulfilling experience and are looking forward to the day when they are able to meet in a gathering without fear of spreading the virus. The self-isolating found that they were remembered and the young discovered and relished a traditional practice that had been unfamiliar to them.

Becky Murgatroyd, youth worker at St Mary’s: As lock down began,some of our church young people contacted us and asked how they could help. They came up with lots of projects. Pete from the Youth Centre had the idea about the pen pal scheme so we spoke to Rev Sally Moring and Rev Remco van den Heuval to help us identify who would benefit from a letter. We had lots of zoom meetings with our team and the church young people before we began. The letters were so rich and built us our very own lock down community, bridging the gap between generations and bring love and hope through a letter.

Pete Swinford, youth worker at Wendover Youth Centre: When lockdown began Wendover Youth Centre partnered with St Mary’s Church to set up a social action group with young people who were interested in helping the community during the lockdown. From this group the idea of a pen pal scheme was formed to communicate with those who were isolate, lonely or vulnerable. Through working with St Mary’s we identified those individuals who would benefit from letters and matched young people to them. We then secured funding from the Emergency councilor fund to develop and expand the scheme. Overall the scheme has been a great success with it bringing young people and members of the community closer together during a difficult time for all.