HenPower launches in London
Our flagship project HenPower has arrived in London!
The award-winning project links older people with hens to combat social isolation and is in more than 20 care settings in the North East.
Its now spread its wings and headed to the capital.
The scheme is supported by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who said: “HenPower is an innovative way to help tackle loneliness and enhance the lives of older Londoners.
"The capital’s older population is growing and it’s great that Londoners will now have the opportunity to take part in this valuable scheme."
Set up in 2013, HenPower is found to help reduce depression and improve people’s wellbeing.
It is also seeing benefits in dementia care settings with staff reporting a reduction in the use of anti-psychotic medication.
Joining with Equal Arts, Notting Hill Housing will run the unique project with residents at two of its care settings, Elmgrove House and 60 Penfold Street.
Lynn Lewis, director of Notting Hill Pathways, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in HenPower and proud to be the first extra care schemes in London working with Equal Arts on the project.
It will really help connect our residents through a shared interest and creative activities."
Currently supporting more than 700 residents in over 20 North East care homes the arrival of HenPower in London is the start of the charity taking its novel initiative country-wide.
Douglas Hunter, Equal Arts director, said: “To see HenPower taking off in Notting Hill Housing venues is testament to the difference this simple idea can have on people’s wellbeing, no matter where they are in the country.
“It gives people a role and responsibility and residents can be involved as much as they wish. HenPower moves away from passive care you so often see in care settings and harnesses people’s imagination and interests to empower themselves.”
Among those taking part in the London project is 80-year-old Ruth Xavier. She said: “I used to keep hens when I was younger and had to prepare their breakfast each morning before I went to school.
“I like the project a lot. I am down there in my wheelchair in the morning letting the hens out and there last thing at night to see they’ve gone to bed.
“It’s good to have a different focus, people have been bringing their children in to see the hens and residents come and sit outside to watch them. I’m enjoying the creative activities, it is something different to do.”
Wendy Wilson, extra care manager at 60 Penfold Street, said: “Residents have really embraced the idea of HenPower and the creative sessions.
“It gives us the opportunity for stimulating activities to engage people using our dementia unit, day service users and tenants.
We are looking forward to the benefits and fun the project can bring to those involved.”
Known as hensioners, older people taking part in HenPower can become active volunteers.
Sharing their new found knowledge and henthusiasm they take Hen Road Shows out to schools, community events and other care settings.
Earlier this year original hensioner Alan Richards, a retired taxi driver from Gateshead, was awarded the Prime Minister’s Point of Light award for his work with the scheme.
Talking about the award David Cameron said: “Alan and his fellow ‘hensioners’ have developed a unique way to support care home residents. The quirky HenPower project has a serious impact, reducing the depression and loneliness that residents can sometimes feel.”
For more information about HenPower ring 0191 477 5775, visit www.equalarts.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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