11th December 2020 — During the final week of term, pupils at the Senior School of University College School in Hampstead wrote Christmas cards which were sent, via the charity Cards of Care, to residents of care homes across London.
Many of these cards had been made by Sixth Formers throughout the autumn term and during form time in December pupils busily wrote, decorated and addressed these cards to people in care homes who, due to the pandemic, will not be able to see friends or relatives during the festive season. The initiative was proposed by a Sixth Form student and it captured the imagination of pupils and staff throughout the Senior School.
Sandy Mayo, a year 12 pupil commented: “It was a fantastic idea. In these times, loneliness amongst the elderly is a serious problem and we were pleased we could do something to make some people feel a little better.”
Nicci Menashe, who founded Cards of Care, was overwhelmed by the response from UCS pupils: “We are so inspired by the UCS team spirit. The pupils have truly supported this initiative and it is clear that they have poured their hearts and souls into this project. They will certainly make a stranger smile and we don’t think that any of the residents that receive their cards will forget how special the pupils have made them feel this festive season.”
The links between UCS and care homes across North London are strong. Pupils usually volunteer their time in these homes but due to lockdown regulations, have been unable to do this this term. Instead, they have turned their attention to recording concerts which residents have watched via YouTube. Another group of pupils have taught themselves how to sew (with a little assistance from Mr Vliegen) and have made face masks on a weekly basis which were delivered to Age UK and other pupils have engrossed themselves in a pen-pal scheme for the elderly – writing and receiving letters on a weekly basis.