23 May 2022

Children respond brilliantly to an appeal for artwork to help cheer up residents at a care home in Derry

Drawings used to brighten up Abbey House in the Bogside

Children respond brilliantly to an appeal for artwork to help cheer up residents at a care home in Derry

Anthony Quinn, a resident at Abbey House, admires some of the artwork which has been sent in to the care home.

Talented children from across the city have brought a smile to the residents of a Derry sheltered housing complex by sending them artwork and letters.

The tenants at Abbey House in the Little Diamond have been in lockdown for four weeks due to the coronavirus and cannot leave the grounds or accept visitors.

Manager, Vivienne McGlinchey, put out an appeal for local kids to send pictures and write messages to brighten the walls of the sheltered housing and supported living complex.

"We took the decision to close our doors as a safety precaution and while the physical health of our residents hasn't changed we have been worried about the mental toll," she explained.

"Families ring in a couple of times a day and they can come and wave in the window, but they haven't been able to visit and it can be a very long day.

"We are lucky that we have a garden and the tenants have nearly worn a trench in it walking up and down and they have been walking about the building too so I had the idea of getting some pictures sent in so that they would have something different to look at."

Ms McGlinchey said the response from local families has been overwhelming.

"We had a letter from a little girl called Lily May who explained that both her parents are key workers and she can't live with them at the moment so she is staying with other family members,” she said.

"It helps our residents to know there are other people out there who can't see their family and are going through the same thing."

"There was another little girl, Amy, who wrote an individual card to all our tenants telling them people are thinking of them and asking them to stay safe."

The colourful pictures, crafts, poems and letters and now decorating the corridors and bringing a smile to the 31 residents.

"Parents have told us it's a great way to keep the children busy too and to keep up with their writing skills while they are off school," continued Ms McGlinchey.

"The pictures are just gorgeous and so colourful.

"We've had donations of Easter eggs for the residents and even biscuits sent in for our staff who are doing such an amazing job so it has been so, so lovely."

If you would like to send a picture or letter to the residents of Abbey House you can drop it at the front door when you are out doing essential shopping or exercise.

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