Schoolchildren’s cards spread joy to vulnerable and lonely

COLOURFUL cards designed by East Sussex primary school children are helping to brighten the lives of thousands of vulnerable residents.

As part of an East Sussex Public Health initiative to tackle loneliness and social isolation, 5,000 cards have been sent to those who have been shielding and self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic via Community Hubs, foodbanks and community and volunteer groups.

Around 150 designs were submitted by pupils from 12 primary schools across the county, with winning designs chosen by councillors, chairmen, councillor leaders and community hubs for each borough and district.

Darrell Gale, director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council, said: “Around 22,000 people in East Sussex had been asked to shield, 13,000 residents are registered with the hubs for support and more than 5,000 people have been supported by the community hubs. 

“We know that shielding has had a detrimental impact on the emotional and mental well-being including reports of increased loneliness and isolation.  Often it is the little things that have a big impact, so we wanted people who may be feeling particularly vulnerable at this time to know that others are thinking of them by sending them the colourful cards with messages of hope and good will.”

The chosen designs were;

  • Eastbourne Borough Council: Vari, 5, from Cavendish School
  • Lewes District Council: Poppy 6, from Peacehaven Heights School
  • Wealden District Council Truly, 7, from Stone Cross School
  • Rother District Council: Charlie, 9, from Icklesham Primary School
  • Hastings Borough Council: Anastasija, 6, from Christchurch Academy
  • East Sussex Healthcare Trust: Millie, 10, from Chyngton School, Seaford

East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT) selected the card designed by 10-year-old Millie to be printed and sent to hospital volunteers during volunteer week at the beginning of June.

Vikki Carruth, ESHT Director of Nursing said: “The bright and vibrate design of the card was so uplifting and put a smile on the face of our valued ESHT volunteers. A massive thank you to all of the school children who submitted designs for the cards, and a special thank you to Millie.”

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, who chose a winning design, said: “Well done to all the children who took part in the competition, it was a joy to look through all the beautiful, bright pictures they had created.  At this time when we particularly need to look after each other, it is heartwarming that youngsters are playing their part in the effort to beat Covid-19 and putting a smile on people’s faces.” 

Councillor Johnny Denis, cabinet member for communities and customers at Lewes District Council, said: “I was impressed by all the children’s pictures and particularly liked the cheerful message of Poppy’s design. Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out to everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable, and let them know they are cared about. These youngsters have found a delightful way of doing just that.”