OLDER Wharfedale residents have been benefitting from a festive campaign supported by local schoolchildren.

Home Instead Senior Care launched its Be a Santa to a Senior scheme with an eye on helping care home residents feel less isolated over the Christmas period.

The campaign got underway in November when the company asked primary school pupils in the area to create and donate Christmas cards, artwork or kind messages.

The resulting gifts have now been handed out to clients and residents in Ilkley, including at Chesterton Court Care Home and Straven House Nursing Home, and at Burley Hall in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Home Instead’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, Katie White, said: “We were inundated with responses and had more than 200 donations from several of the local schools.

“We have been distributing these beautiful gifts to our clients and other older people within our community.

“The donations included fantastic Christmas cards, some amazing letters, beautifully coloured baubles, puzzle books, drawings and calendars.

“It’s safe to say there was glitter and sequins everywhere!”

Home Instead also created a Christmas puzzle book, packed with quizzes, word search puzzles and festive trivia activities as a way of spreading some cheer - and interest - over the winter break.

Katie said: “We’ve been on a mission to help tackle social isolation for older people within our community.

“It’s been a difficult year for them as many haven’t been able to leave the house for months and much of their community support services haven’t been able to operate because of local lockdown restrictions.

“Maintaining social interaction is vital for our mental wellbeing and it’s important that we keep our brains active and stimulated with engaging activities. This is why we’ve created a Christmas puzzle book that we’ve given to many older people within our community.

“It was a way of encouraging people to keep their minds engaged even if they were unable to see loved ones.”

The Christmas cards and messages produced by the campaign were also included in the Ilkley Good Neighbours and Addingham Good Neighbours Christmas gift bags this year.

More than 1,500 copies of the puzzle book have been distributed locally through community groups and GP surgeries. Katie added: “Thank you so much for all the lovely donations we received from local primary schools - we hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!”