Now in more than 40 care homes, HenPower creatively hengages older people in arts activities and hen-keeping to promote health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

HenPower cultivates creativity in care settings at a time in life when most people are slowing down, and not stepping into wellies or making masterpieces.

HenPower brings together older people and hen-keeping to combat loneliness and depression and improve wellbeing. Read about the positive impact it is having here in The Guardian.

"Next to blindness loneliness is the worst thing you can have, it is a big affliction. It can destroy a lot of people. I know because I have been through it. At 87, hens are the biggest thing in our lives." Ossie Cresswell, Hensioner

With loneliness said to be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad 2010) HenPower helps vulnerable older people gain a sense of purpose and being part of something worthwhile.

Watch how the project is making a difference to Ossie and Alan, just two of the active volunteers taking their Henthusiasm for hens and hatching to schools, care settings and festivals with the Hen Road Shows.

Working with dementia care settings, care home providers are seeing the benefits with staff reporting reduced agitation in residents and reduced use of anti-psychotic medication.

To bring HenPower to your community contact us.

HenPower Aims To

  • Empower older people to build positive relationships through hen-keeping with improved wellbeing, reduced loneliness and reduced depression
  • Help care settings offer relationship centred care meeting older people’s needs and embrace ‘living with care’ as opposed to ‘caring for’
  • Create lasting change by supporting older people in care settings to get involved with schools, festivals and community events
  • Support Resident and Relative Committees within care settings to be aspirational and provide meaningful activities which embrace creative ageing
  • Provide social care staff with excellent skill transfer and professional development opportunities.


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HenPower Community

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How HenPower Helps

A 12-month study of the project by Northumbria University used differing recognised health scales. Published in 2014 the evaluation found HenPower is:

  • Improving the health and wellbeing of older people
  • Reducing depression and loneliness in older people

With support from volunteers, the care sector and schools HenPower is making a real difference to people’s lives. Read the stories of just a handful of those who’ve been HenPowered.

Read The Paper

Care Homes

Care settings currently a part of HenPower include those owned by Akari Care, Gateshead Council, Barchester, Orchard Care, Jewish Care, Brunel Care and the Whiddon Group in Australia.

By becoming a HenPower project care homes get support and advice on how to use hen-keeping to engage residents and relatives in a weekly creative programme led by artists.

"Often when people have dementia, in that moment of time life is fragmented and their identity is crumbling and you try to preserve what they have done in their lives, and hold on to what they have learned."Keith Hogan, adult services manager with Gateshead Council

To become a HenPower project or for more information download the brochure here or get in touch


Hen Roadshows

Bring some HenPower into your community with one of our Hen Roadshows. The interactive sessions see Hensioners sharing their knowledge in schools, care settings or summer fairs, captivating people with their feathered friends.

From why eggs are different colours to how a chicken sleeps with one eye open, it’s all in the roadshows along with creative activities such as designing tea towels and cards.

To book a session or for more details just get in touch.


"We are a school in a very urban area but we have our own allotment and weekly gardening club and were very keen in keeping chickens. We thought the HenPower roadshow would be a great opportunity for the children. It was a fantastic experience. The pupils enjoyed meeting the chickens and asking the experts all about hen-keeping."Alison Burden, head teacher at Marine Park Primary School in South Shields.

Linking care homes with classrooms through the Hen Roadshows often lays the foundations for continuing partnerships. Whether hatching chicks in the cloak room or visiting care homes for transgenerational sessions, the project harnesses positive relationships within the community.

The HenPower Hensioners have compiled many of the henriching stories we have heard about hen keeping from the war years until now. The stories will be part of their "What's Your Hen Story" project - The Hensioners are developing a book and some short films which will showcase all of their chicken chat to share with others for both education and entertainment!

The aim of What's Your HenStory? is to document and enjoy the memories and stories of anyone and everyone who has kept chickens at some point in their life, in whatever capacity. There is a broad spectrum of involvement in rearing hens, from backyard chicken keepers to professional poultry farmers and we want to hear all of it! Stories can span from childhood in war time, 70s good life, right through to chicken keeping today with all of the mod-cons.

We have stopped taking stories now but you can click here to view the stories that have been collected. Also you can click here to view images and films about keeping chickens.

Contact us to find out how to get involved.

Get Henvolved

Joanne Mathewson

Manager of Shadon House

The stars of the garden are our hens, which Equal Arts helped us nurture to become a part of our family.  It has been surprising how many people have looked after hens at some point in their lives and have a story to tell.  The hens provide endless stimulation, amusement and pleasure from watching their antics.

People who have had to leave their pets at home sometimes transfer the caring skills they had for them to the hens.  Such an attachment personified by taking them out for treats out after meal times, and letting them out of the coop to devour all the plants the gardeners have just planted, has provided an invaluable connection whilst, counteracting adverse feelings of insecurity, loss and separation (Miesen 1993).

The hens increase the use of our outdoor space. People want to go outdoors to watch the antics, which in turn improves wellbeing and promotes exercise while having an interest that can in turn promote communication with tales of having hens themselves.

The hens can help reduce anxiety and agitation by diverting someone’s attention and they offer a great community link as we have weekly visits from local primary schools. The school children have created art and crafts along with our service users to display around the centre.

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