Valentina and Molly, Young Healthwatch volunteers, share their experiences of being involved in the Pen pal scheme with Respite at Home

Valentina writes

Having a pen pal has been a very rewarding activity. It has been quite helpful during these times as I get to communicate with someone other than the people around me. I also receive an outside perspective and opinion on the things I bring up in conversation.

My favourite part of the whole thing has been getting to know my pen pal. Finding out about their life and travels, interests and most importantly, how they feel. I think right now, having that sort of contact with someone is crucial and really beneficial. Covid has made it hard for us to communicate like we used to and it created a very stressful 2020. Having someone who I can discuss my opinions on the subject, and receive some advice from, has really helped me manage my stress over it.

This is something I would recommend to a lot of people, specifically if you like writing or talking about random things. Even if you don’t, if you want to improve your communication skills or even meet someone new and make a new friend, having a pen pal is helpful in terms of all those things.

My pen pal, Bill, and I have discussed many things that interest us and we always have good conversations. Sometimes about politics, or future endeavours, where we have travelled and opportunities we’ve had in life. The letters are always opinionated and our personalities shine through, I think making it easier for us to get to know each other. It has been a joy having someone to talk to and effectively making a new friend.

Molly writes

Having a pen pal has been really beneficial for me.

I have enjoyed talking to an older person about my day and also finding out what life was like for them as a child and how different it is now.

It’s also good because it doesn’t take long to write down what you have done that week and what you will be doing the following week.

I talk to Agnes about my hobbies and how school has changed due to the Coronavirus. She has also told me the differences between our cinema nowadays and what it used to be like.

I would really recommend a pen pal to anyone who just wants to talk about how they are and what they’ve been doing each week.