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pen pal day

Today, on Pen Pal Day, is the official launch of the Lifeways Pen Pal Network, which will see some of the nearly 5,000 people Lifeways supports get in touch with each other and become pen pals!

Lifeways supports close to 5,000 people, spread across the country in 1,500 supported living and residential services. The scale and distance between our services means it can be challenging for individuals to reach out to each other and form new friendships with people in different parts of the country.

The idea to support people to get in touch with each other started last year, at the National Our Voice Workshop, where people we support told us they wanted more opportunities to keep busy and do the things they like.

In response, we worked together to co-produce the Lifeways Pen Pal Network with the help of a group of people we support: our Quality Checkers.

Quality Checkers are individuals we support who are experts by experience. Our Quality Checkers take a closer look at the support we provide in their own homes and other people's homes.

Seeing new friendships blossom

After months of work with our Quality Checkers, our Lifeways Pen Pal Network is now officially launched!

In the pictures above, David (in the grey top) and Henry (in the red top), who are both Quality Checkers, were writing down ideas about the resources we would need to help people start our Pen Pal Network.

These include a toolkit on how to become a pen pal, hints and tips for staying safe, tools to match people with similar interests together, and ideas for a poster promoting the network across the UK.

“It’s been fantastic to see the people we support working collaboratively, co-producing the toolkit so that people can be empowered to develop new friendships,” says Jodie Allen-Cawley, Lifeways’ Head of Quality and Health & Safety.

“This is a perfect example of co-production in action.” she adds. “Now, we’re looking forward to seeing new friendships blossom across Lifeways.”

Watch this space to hear more about the Lifeways Pen Pal Network!


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