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Creative project combining hens and arts arrives in Stockton

ByEqual Arts

Jul 16, 2019 ##arts, #Care

RESIDENTS and staff at Mandale House Care Home have joined a national flock of older people and care staff feeling henergised by HenPower.

They’re among the latest to join the pioneering HenPower project, which brings together hen-keeping and creative sessions to help improve people’s wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

Run by charity Equal Arts, the project sees three hens moving into the grounds of the dementia care setting ready for a summer of sessions led by professional-artists for residents, their families, staff and schoolchildren.

Tracy Wilson, activities coordinator at the Hill Care-run setting, on Acklam Road, Thornaby, said: “Already the impact of HenPower here has been massive. The hens bring so much joy and engage the residents in ways we didn’t think possible.

“They’re a real focal point to our home now and everyone loves them. They’ve given people reason to get out of their chair and into the garden. People are planting and watering and watching the hens every day.”

Jos Forester-Melville, HenPower Programme Manager, added: “The sessions and hens are a fantastic way to build relationships in the community with nearby schools and relatives all getting involved and having a go.

“The enthusiasm from staff and residents each week has been great to see. HenPower and the creative activities focus on what people living with dementia can achieve in that moment.”

HenPower at Mandale House has been made possible after receiving funding from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

Councillor Ann McCoy, the council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We’re delighted to support a project as innovative as HenPower to benefit residents in care and those affected by dementia. We know from research the importance of person-centred activities for people living in care and this is just the kind of scheme which empowers residents to build positive relationships between each other, staff, visitors and the wider community.”

With creative sessions running weekly at the venue, the project is looking to hear from those in the community with a couple of hours a week to support the project.

Opportunities include supporting creative sessions, hen-care and gardening.

For more information about how to get involved email volunteer@equalarts.org.uk