WOODWORK sessions building bird boxes and chicken ornaments have been empowering care home residents in Northumberland.
Tool wielding residents at The Oaks Care Home, on Durban Street, Blyth, have been participating in the sessions organised by The Mighty Oaks, with support from creative ageing charity Equal Arts as part of their HenPower project.
This project has been made possible by funding from Blyth Town Council and the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Equal Arts has been supporting creative workshops and hen-keeping at The Oaks Care Home for over a year, with the woodwork sessions being the latest aimed at improving wellbeing and reducing feelings of loneliness.
Driftwood artist and Equal Arts associate Neil Canavan has been leading the activity, instructing from the home’s garden to maintain social distancing, while residents assemble, sand and varnish bird boxes and wooden hens.
Jack Hall, 83, said: “It reminded me of my old woodwork days and how I loved making things in my shed with my lathe and tools. I was always quite handy. I helped my son renovate his house.”
Fred Wynn, 74, added: “The session reminded me of woodwork at school and making things with my boys when they were children. The boxes and hens will look great in the garden.”
Residents Peggy Currie, 94, and Florence Cole, 92, both helped varnish the hens. Peggy said: “My dad taught me and my son how to make and mend things with wood. I really enjoyed varnishing the wooden hens.”
Angela Hedley, activities coordinator at The Oaks Care Home, said: “The sessions have been hugely empowering, especially for the gents.
“Jack has been using a hammer and nails, stretching him to use skills he hasn’t had a chance to use for a while, and Fred also got stuck in assembling the bird boxes and hens. They haven’t stopped talking about it.
“Then some of the ladies enjoyed varnishing the hens and everyone agreed they will look great in the garden.
“We’d all like to thank Equal Arts for another fantastic session. We look forward to seeing Neil and the other associates back with us again soon.”
Neil said: “I was somewhat apprehensive about the workshops at The Oaks since I tend to like to be hands on with working closely with residents.
“The fact that the project turned out to be so successful was mainly down to the staff. They were absolutely brilliant, making my work so much easier but really helping the residents get so much out of the project.
“I can’t wait to go back in September, where we will be making boxes filled with natural mosaics and driftwood wall hangings.”