By Mary Wilson, published in the Daily Mail Friday 9th April 2021

Residents have found ingenious and fulfilling ways to keep spirits up.

BEING part of a supportive community is important at the best of times — even more so at the moment and especially if you live on your own.

‘There’s no doubt that the pandemic has promoted a wonderful spirit of community on our estate,’ says Clive McWilton, estate manager of Cognatum’s Muskerry Court retirement development in Rusthall, Kent. ‘Many residents used to travel extensively, so historically there’s been less interaction, but over the course of the last year they’ve all become closer, caring about each other.’

During the first lockdown, one of the residents started arranging a weekly quiz. He prepared the questions and the management team printed and circulated them and then collected them later in the week.

Others have helped with emergency shopping, exercising dogs, picking up prescriptions, and sorting tech issues.

Smiles all around: A group of friends playing cards in a retirement home

Whatsapp groups, have also been set up to make those who may be isolated feel part of a community.

Another resident, who pre-pandemic ran the Rusthall community cinema, has hundreds of DVDs ranging from Singin’ In The Rain to Reservoir Dogs, so he invited residents to borrow anything they liked. ‘He has become the Muskerry Blockbusters,’ says Clive.

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