A Manchester-based charity are battling loneliness in care homes in the most unconventional way imaginable: chickens.
Crossroads Together set up the Social Hen Homes Project earlier this month, and the charity give elderly people living in care homes a batch of chicks to look after.
The initiative gave give care homes in Rochdale five chicks each and residents then take care of them – making sure they’re fed and their health is monitored.
The idea of the initiative is to give residents a sense of purpose, and it’s hoped the chicks will fight depression and loneliness. Once the hens are old enough to start laying eggs, residents will be able to collect them and make their own meals.
The project is in partnership with students and teachers from Hopwood Hall College’s animal management facility who will be available on-site to give advice, chat and check on the chickens.
Paul Parlby, chief executive at Crossroads Together, said: “We’ve all seen the news stories about the numbers of older people who go for weeks without seeing anyone, and I’ve been delighted to see so many initiatives put in place locally in recent years to try and tackle social isolation.
“This is the first time a scheme like this has been put in place in Greater Manchester, and we’re really excited to watch the chicks grow and see how the residents enjoy caring for them.”