Your Chickens featured the Hensioners in the early days, when the scheme was launched in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. It gained national prominence when it received £1m in Lottery funding. It is now active in more than 40 care homes across the UK.
HenPower, delivered by the North-East based older people’s charity Equal Arts, encourages participants to get involved in the daily routines of henkeeping as well as incubating chicks and taking hens to auction. Hen keeping is a positive distraction and can reduce anxiety as well as being a talking point. Hensioners get involved in the Hen Roadshow, taking the birds to other care homes and primary schools, with return visits by pupils.
Providing face-to-face activities with independent older people, as well as those with conditions such as dementia, the project offers a sociable and stimulating environment that reduces depression and loneliness and gives participants an increased sense of wellbeing and purpose.