Pupils from across the St Patrick’s campus have been taking part in a heartwarming initiative to help bring joy to residents across four Cork nursing homes this Christmas.
Over the last number of weeks, pupils at St Patrick’s preschool, infants, boys and girls schools and in the college have designed, created and will soon send around 100 Christmas cards to residents at nursing homes in Montenotte, Ballynoe, Rochestown and Douglas.
The initiative has been running for five years and is the brainchild of St Patrick’s Boys National School teacher Clair Harrington.
Ms Harrington had initially encouraged the pupils in her class to create and send cards to residents at one Cork nursing home in a bid to help both pupils and nursing home residents to connect.
The project proved a success and was subsequently expanded across the campus and to four different nursing homes.
Shane Foley, principal at St Patrick’s Boys National School said that in the region of 400 pupils, aged from 3-years-old right up to 18, have helped to handcraft cards over the last number of weeks for nursing home residents, with pupils across the different schools working on different aspects of the cards.
The unique cards have all been individually decorated and feature poems, hymns, songs and Christmas messages.
In previous years, pupils would have visited nursing homes to present their cards to residents, but the pandemic has changed this.
However, it is hoped that with some help from a small number of St Patrick’s elves, the cards will be hand-delivered tomorrow.
Pupils across each of the schools will be taking part in a Zoom call with residents to spread some Christmas cheer and read some of the cards and messages aloud.
Speaking to the Echo, Mr Foley said that the initiative is a wonderful way for young pupils and older residents to connect with each other and also helps spark a conversation in the classrooms about family, during a time when many have been separated from loved ones.
“The boys and girls also think of their own grandparents and tell us their stories- it provides a meaningful connection to family.”