Feathered friends cause egg-citement

A group of new arrivals at Housing 21’s Winton Court in Winlaton, Tyne & Wear are causing a bit of a flap. Seven chickens have moved into the extra care scheme for older people, thanks to Equal Arts, a charity which sets up creative projects with older people.

The Winton Chicks, as they are known, have arrived following a successful application for funding from the Big Lottery Fund by Equal Arts who have also helped establish the relative and residents group The Artful Codgers of Winton Court. The residents selected seven hens, including some rare breeds. They gave them all names and also chose the chicken house and run, which has been placed alongside the lounge window for all to see.

Commenting on the hens’ arrival, Winton Court resident Joan Gardener (aged 76) said: “I have really been looking forward to learning something new.” Her neighbour, 86 year old Dorothy Bowman added: “I didn’t have a clue about chickens until this project started and now everyone at the court is so excited.”

Equal Arts has 25 years experience in helping older people participate in high quality arts activity. They will take responsibility for the hens for the first 18 months and ensure good practice in animal welfare, care staff training, activities for resident’s and involvement of the wider community

Douglas Hunter, director - programme at Equal Arts said: “HenPower has been such a success at Winton Court that we’re looking to involve a further four courts across Gateshead in the New Year. It’s a great opportunity for particularly older men to get involved, as well as providing a talking point for family and visiting friends”.

Carole Bertram, Housing 21 court manager added: “A lot of the tenants had hens when they were younger so have experience of looking after them. We have had positive reactions from residents, their families and their friends and this project has grown and become very popular. Everyone is excited about the arrival of the Winton Chicks.”