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Hen power helps pensioners stay fit
CLUCKY pensioners have hatched a bird-brained scheme to stay fit - with the help of chickens.
The “hen-sioners” from Tyneside are taking part in the HenPower project, which was set up to help improve the health of older people and specifically older men.
The scheme encourages them to raise chickens at the homes where they live.
Dozens of hens have been reared and even some chicks incubated at eight supported living schemes across the North- East.
Among those getting hands on with the hens is 78-year-old George Stewart who has lived at Wood Green sheltered housing scheme in Gateshead for three years.
He said: “When I came here, I felt pretty isolated but then I used to watch the hens and it wasn’t half relaxing. It’s changed my life to be honest.
“By getting involved with HenPower, I have got to know a lot more people and have made a lot of new friends. It has made me happy as Larry. I just love it for the companionship and being with my friends.”
HenPower was set up last year by the charity Equal Arts which received £168,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to launch the project.
Pensioners are involved in the day-to-day care of the hens, feeding and cleaning them and treating them to get rid of mites and lice.
The HenPower project is part of a series of events taking place nationwide as part of Older People’s Day yesterday. Tuesday, October 1) One of the key aims for Older People’s Day is to bring older and younger people together to create better understanding and respect by sharing their experiences.
Owen Turnbull, 83, who has lived at Wood Green with his wife Belle since 2005, said: “I like everything about the HenPower project and get great pleasure from visiting the schools and telling the children all about the hens.
“The kiddies’ faces always light up – they’re a bit shy to begin with but then you can’t get the hens off them.”
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