THE season to be jolly is upon us, and it is usually a time for all-important visits to be made.

But this year, things are very different. While many of us are getting used to speaking to our friends and family via video calls, for others it is not so easy.

Allendale Primary School has long-standing links within the community it serves, and pupils have always enjoyed visiting residents in care homes in the run up to Christmas.

For years, the singing of carols and the spreading of festive cheer has always brought a smile to many faces.

Like many things, however, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way schools and other organisations have had to approach community activities.

This December, the school has followed the national Classrooms to Care Homes initiative, which encourages children to communicate with their elder counterparts within Covid restrictions.

All of the 122 pupils at Allendale Primary have spent time making Christmas cards, writing festive messages, and also producing diaries of life in lockdown and Tier 3 restrictions in the build up to Yuletide.

Deputy headteacher Phil Vincent said the school had linked up with care homes at Thornley Leazes, Allendale, and Lowgate near Hexham, for the project.

Mr Vincent said he was impressed at the caring nature of pupils, who have used their creative skills to great effect.

“Our Christmas messages are going to people within the care homes, and also those who receive care within he community,” he said.

“The children have drawn Christmas pictures, they have written some lovely messages, but they’ve also been telling local stories, such as about the tree going up in the Market Square, and they have included a few festive jokes as well.”

The messages will be handed over the residents after they have been suitably quarantined.

Mr Vincent added: “We hope they will make a difference to those who aren’t able to get out as they would like to, or see the people they usually would at Christmas, and would benefit from a bit of festive goodwill.

“All children, from the youngest upwards, have been involved and they really have done themselves proud.

“They have been very understanding of the Covid situation this year, and have shown that they care by using their imagination and creativity to produce some highly impressive work.”

Allendale Primary School began life in the former Allendale Middle School building in 2013, following an educational restructure during the same year.