Wildlife therapy for care home residents

A CARE home in Hartlepool is set to link up with wildlife in a major new project.

The RSPB has joined forces with Bupa to bring wildlife gardening to more than 300 care homes across the UK, including Brierton Lodge in Hartlepool.

The aim is to encourage species in decline – such as house sparrows, song thrushes, butterflies, bees and hedgehogs – to thrive once more.

The project called Homes For Wildlife comes after RSPB research showed that close access to nature was important for the elderly or people recovering from illness.

Charity chiefs say they hope the scheme will eventually lead to Bupa residents building and painting nest boxes, and helping staff to create new habitats such as ponds, bog gardens and wildflower meadows.

Homes for Wildlife was piloted last year in 11 care homes in the Midlands and Wales.

Almost 90 per cent of people taking part rated it useful or very useful.

RSPB project manager Richard Bashford said: “Gardens and outdoor spaces are becoming increasingly important refuges for our native wildlife.

“We hope both people and wildlife will reap the rewards of this partnership.”

Bupa’s community affairs consultant Siobhan Drane said:

“Most Bupa care homes have gardens where there are opportunities for enjoying a wide variety of wildlife and, as wildlife appeals to a wide range of people regardless of age or level of dependency, this is a perfect partnership.”