£10,000 creative project culminates in cockerel-shaped cob oven
Close to 200 pupils at Newburn Manor Primary School have been trampling mud as they put the finishing footprints to their fireside project.
For the past 11 months the school, alongside users from The Grange Day Centre in Newcastle, have been busy working with us and our HenPower Project.
Supported by Equal Arts artist Aimee Robertson, older people and pupils have met each week to create stories based on chickens and the environment, drawing on the tradition of sharing stories by the fireside.
Aimee said: “The hens and creative activities have been a real catalyst for these relationships within this community. It’s been fantastic to see pupils and those from The Grange sharing ideas and knowledge in what’s been a hugely varied project.
“Through cross-generational sessions, and with support from volunteers and care and teaching staff, we’ve seen their confidence and self-esteem grow.”
Classes have taken part in willow weaving giant eggs and chickens, making large textile hangings, building sculptures and creating original stories.
The year-long project, funded with £10,000 from Big Lottery’s Awards for All, culminated at the end of June with the first firing up of the school’s cob oven, built in the shape of a cockerel’s head.
Stewart Pickup, head teacher at Newburn Manor, said: “The pupils and team from The Grange have created such a unique and friendly atmosphere. The resulting work has been a credit to all involved.
“Our children thrive when sharing ideas and this opportunity has allowed them to enhance these skills beyond the classroom and normal school environment.
“Working with older people within the Newburn community feeds perfectly into the family ethos of the school and we hope the partnerships and friendships continue to develop in the future.”
The school is among the 50+ venues taking part in the charity’s innovative HenPower Project which brings creativity and hen-keeping to older people and those living with dementia.
This summer we're delighted to be expanding our volunteer opportunities after receiving funding of £244,000 over two years from Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
HenPower volunteer Pat Cain first joined the project at Wood Green in Gateshead, after caring for her husband.
She said: “I love working in the schools with the children. We teach them all about hatching and caring for the hens. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
“When my husband died, you sort of feel lost. Like you lose your role. I was a wife and a carer and then suddenly that all goes. Now, I know I’ve got a job to do. We work with children and young people with learning disabilities and we make great friendships.”
Setting out our volunteering plans Laura Lowther, volunteer lead, added: “This funding provides us with an amazing opportunity to expand our volunteering roles for people wanting to get involved in some way with our work.
“It needn’t be the traditional one day a week. Acts of social action can vary hugely from pledging to support our work online and spreading the word in your community to helping at an event for a couple of hours or joining in with a creative session.
“Whether you’ve got 10 minutes or 10 hours to help out, there will be something for everyone.”
To find out more about HenPower or how you can get involved email [email protected] or ring 0191 477 5775.