A group of older people in Leeds will form a flock of budding birdwatchers this winter thanks to a heart-warming new community project.

Through an innovative partnership between Leeds Museums and Galleries, arts organisation Skippko and older people’s support network Armley Helping Hands, the group is being encouraged to spot and identify the birds they can see safely from their windows at home.

Online videos of birds from the taxidermy collection at Leeds Discovery Centre along with specially-created packs posted to their home will also inspire the group to create their own pieces of ornithological artwork that will be displayed at Leeds Industrial Museum in future.

Designed to help the group avoid social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hoped the activity will mean those taking part can keep connected and engaged while also staying safe.

Rebecca Machin, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of natural sciences said: “Nature and the outdoors have played such an important part in lifting all our spirits this year, reminding us that even in the face of so much uncertainty, there’s still a lot of beauty to be found in the world around us.

“We wanted to try and help a group of older people who might be having to stay at home right now and away from their friends share in that while also keeping them connected with us and each other.

“This partnership is allowing us to do just that, bringing together a small but important network of older people in the Armley community and giving them a chance to engage with our collection at home as they learn about the birds they can see in their garden.”

Armley Helping Hands work in partnership with Time to Shine on the Don’t Call Me Old project, which aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst older people in Leeds.


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