Hen rescue sets up its first fund-raiser shop

Lucky Hens' director Alison Thorpe behind the counter at the shop
Lucky Hens' director Alison Thorpe behind the counter at the shop

An organisation finding new homes for caged hens is expanding as it prepares to open a fund-raising shop.

Lucky Hens Rescue North West is currently unable to rehome hens due to restrictions on birds to prevent the spread of avian flu.

It means the community interest company has no income and last month issued a desperate appeal for donations.

Now, director Alison Thorpe is opening a community bring and buy shop to provide a new source of income.

It will raise much-needed funds for Lucky Hens, both during the current restrictions and for future projects, such as new buildings at the rescue in Amberswood.

Mrs Thorpe said: “It will make a massive difference.

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin with rescued battery hen Edna in her cherry and white top during a visit to Lucky Hens Rescue

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin with rescued battery hen Edna in her cherry and white top during a visit to Lucky Hens Rescue

“It’s extra income so we are not worried where the next money is coming from.

“If bird flu strikes again, it could close us and I don’t want to have to rehome the hens.”

The shop is located on Bridge Street in Hindley and is due to open on Saturday.

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O’Loughlin, who has previously visited Lucky Hens, will be there from around 11.30am to give his support and meet fans.

I have always been obsessed with recycling and going in charity shops. I like a bargain and have never paid full price for anything.

Alison Thorpe

Many items have already been donated to the shop and people are being asked to give what they can to help Lucky Hens.

Mrs Thorpe said: “We have lots of stuff coming in but we need it to continue to come in.

“We need donations of unwanted items such as clothes, shoes, tools, it’s everything you can think of.

“Good quality stuff has been handed in so far, some items brand new with labels on.”

The donated items will be on sale, but people can also pop in to the shop for a coffee and a chat.

The refurbishment of the premises has so far cost less than £100, thanks to paint and floor tiles from recycling website Freegle, a toilet seat donated by B&Q and a counter made from wooden pallets.

And Mrs Thorpe is pleased that the shop will allow more items to be re-used, rather than being thrown away.

She said: “I have always been obsessed with recycling and going in charity shops.

“I like a bargain and have never paid full price for anything.

“My grandma used to take me round all the charity shops when I was growing up so I got it from there.”

The Lucky Hens shop will open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and opens every day except Sundays and Wednesdays.

Donations can be taken to the shop and volunteers are needed to help run it.

Anyone wishing to get involved can contact Mrs Thorpe by emailing luckyhens@gmail.com

She set up the cause after discovering that thousands upon thousands of battery hens are sent for slaughter after outliving their usefulness on farms.

She came to an arrangement with several battery farms about relieving them of their unwanted stock instead and has set up a thriving enterprise in which members of the public adopt one or more chickens themselves in return for a donation of their choosing.

The fowl are then kept in back gardens or yards across the borough and far beyond, providing a regular supply of eggs.