This week saw the start of Verbal's intergenerational programme, funded by the Acorn Giving Circle Fund through the Community Foundation.

Ten schoolchildren from Hollybush Primary School in Derry/Londonderry and ten residents from William Street Residential Home will write letters to each other over the next few weeks .

They will also be reading the same three short stories, the first of these being Hugh Lupton's 'The Blind Man and the Hunter', a West African folk tale which looks at the themes of empathy and overcoming adversity. They will then discuss the stories in their letters, as well as tell each other about their lives, interests, memories, and hopes for the future.

It is hoped at a later stage that these children will meet up with the older people when it is safe to do so. When they meet, they will plant flowers together and have a party.

The purpose of this project is to bring older people and children together to talk about their own life story through the literature chosen, and for them to discuss such topics such as the environment, and the ways that the world has changed over the years.

One of the staff managers at William Street Residential Home stated: "Our residents are very excited about this programme, as it gives them a chance to connect with children whilst in isolation. Isolation is a major issue for our residents at this time. They can't have family visits and can only receive phonecalls, therefore they are looking forward to reading the stories and exchanging letters with the children."

One of the children explained: "It is nice to be kind to older people when they are lonely, and I am counting the sleeps until I can meet with them."