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Checking the fence “post” - Fernhill residents and students go old school to keep in touch

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It’s not the way most primary school students would post an update, but students at Caboolture State School have been sharing messages with residents at the neighbouring Bolton Clarke Fernhill residential aged care community by fence post.

The heart-warming gesture was initiated by the students as a way of supporting residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The children used string to hang pictures and messages over the fence, moving residents to respond in kind.

Fernhill resident Ron French - nicknamed ‘Frenchy’ - said that the community was thrilled by the students’ thoughtfulness and creativity.

“The students started the messages,” he said. “It was very creative. It made me feel quite good. It was very heart-warming that they came up with that idea. They’re good kids.”

As an expression of gratitude and to continue the community connection, the residents from Fernhill’s special care unit returned the favour. With support from Personal Care Worker Adrienne Thomson, they made their own signs and placed them in the windows facing the school fence for students to view.

“It was fun to be creative sending our message back,” said Frenchy. “I don’t feel isolated at all. I feel pretty good to tell you the truth! The team here have been great.”

Ms Thomson said that the Fernhill team had not prompted the students at all.

“I came to work, and the messages were there. The students have been waving over the fence to residents if they see them when they walk past. I think everyone is making effort to be extra friendly. It’s the first time we’ve done messages via fence!” she said.

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“After we put up the thank you posters, the students came outside with their teacher to take pictures. It was very neighbourly. The residents absolutely loved it.”

“We think the students will have to come and visit us in person after all of this is over.”

Residential Manager Ram Korla said that Fernhill residents, Bolton Clarke team members and Caboolture State School students were all excited to share in the lovely community spirit, staying connected with each other during this challenging time.

“I got goose bumps from seeing it,” he said. “I didn’t expect it and all of us have appreciated the thoughtfulness. An extremely heart-warming gesture that has encouraged all of us.”

“It made every single resident and team member’s day.”