HenPower spreads its wings to Darlington

First published: Tuesday 23 Jul 2019

HenPower is heading to Darlington this summer with a community-wide project celebrating the town’s heritage.

Devised by charity Equal Arts, the HenPower project brings together hen-keeping and arts to improve wellbeing and tackle loneliness among older people and those with dementia.

Thanks to new funding the project will link up with care settings and schools in the County Durham town to help breakdown stereotypes and build relationships.

Supported by Equal Arts, children and older people will take part in weekly creative activities led by professional artists, exploring life in the town through the decades and sharing experiences.

Those gearing up to be henergised through heritage include Ted Fletcher Court - a sheltered housing scheme run by Darlington Borough Council - Rydale Care Home and Beaumont Hill Academy, part of the Education Village Academy Trust.

Councillor Paul Howell, Cabinet member for leisure and local environment at Darlington Borough Council, said:

“Loneliness and dementia are two significant challenges facing society, this innovative approach is very welcome, and I look forward to seeing how it develops, hopefully the results will be eggstraordinary!”

The project aims to build confidence and strengthen a sense of place among those taking part, with cross-generational workshops in ceramics, painting and poetry. There’ll be visits to the Hippodrome, the Market Square and Head of Steam to spark conversations about what it means to live in Darlington.

Equal Arts’ HenPower Associate Rosi Thornton will be supporting the project. She said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to bring the benefits of our HenPower project to people living in Darlington.

“The hens, sharing experiences and learning alongside each other all prove a great catalyst to help people of different ages build friendships and make lasting links within their community.”

The £16,500 project will culminate with a community exhibition and has been largely funded by  Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, iWill Fund, Creative Darlington and participating venues.

Karen Gilbey, scheme manager at Ted Fletcher Court, said:

“We’re looking forward to being part of the award-winning HenPower project. We’ve welcomed in our hens and, of course, the supply of fresh eggs!

“Exploring Darlington’s heritage will be interesting and I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to share.”

Pauline Oakley is manager at Rydale Care Home run by Minster Care Group, she said:

“We’re raring to go and can’t wait for the HenPower heritage project to enhance the lives of residents.”

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