Equal Arts is a creative ageing charity, providing opportunities for older people to build relationships, improving health and well-being. Jos Forrester-Melville explains more about their amazing work and their links to Brinsea…

‘Our HenPower project set out with very humble beginnings, in one care home in Gateshead where one older man with dementia, Bill, kept repeating female names. At specific times of the day, he would make a move towards the door. The manager realised that the names Bill kept repeating were the names of the hens he’d kept when he lived at home and he wanted to go out to feed them and collect the eggs. So the manager approached Equal Arts and asked about the possibility of installing hens in the home and peppered with weekly creative sessions, where older people are encouraged to sing, paint, draw and much more…The HenPower egg was hatched!

This spring the Hensioners hitched up with children from Harlow Green Community Primary School in Gateshead to learn about incubation and rearing.

Introducing children to the art of incubation was a pleasure when using Brinsea products. We used the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance for our intergenerational project, largely based on the fact that the Hensioners had used it in previous years and found it very manageable and easy to use. Unlike other incubators, they liked the fact that it rotated automatically, that they could have a good, clear view inside which enabled people to see what was happening at every stage. They liked the ease of managing the controls and that they would be alerted if the temperature was compromised. The equipment is easy to use for fragile fingers both young and old. The children enjoyed putting the incubators together under the watchful eye of our head Hensioner Owen and found the process perfectly practical.

The hardy build of the Octagon 20 Advance meant that we weren’t at all concerned about leaving it in the hands of 60 year 5 children for the duration of the hatching project. The children were able to have a constant view of the action, so weren’t tempted to lift the lid to peep inside. Visibility is great and the clear lid aids vision from every angle.

We used the Brinsea OvaView High-Intensity Candling Lamp to look inside the eggs checking for fertility. It cannot be stated clearly enough how unbelievably exciting this was for the children. The Brinsea EcoGlow 50 Brooder was the ideal addition in growing our chicks on. The robust nature of the equipment made it easy to use, move and handle for the children and Hensioners. The Hensioners had hatched in previous years, but for them to be able to share their knowledge and expertise using key pieces of kit such as this, made the process so interesting and enjoyable, really taking their learning off the page and putting it into practical reality.’

Kate Rowe, Outdoor Education Teaching Assistant at Harlow Green Primary School wrote to say, ‘We would like to say a big thank you to our friends at Brinsea who have not only supported us with equipment, but have also been on hand to offer expert advice which has really helped to improve the programme we have to offer. The look, quality and ease of use of this equipment makes it exemplary in the field of incubation.’

Jos Forester-Melville
HenPower Project Lead


The amazing EqualArts HenPower project































All photos courtesy of Ant Photography

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