he Northern Fells Group is a community charity based in North Cumbria and serves 3,700 residents in an upland area of over 200 square miles. The catchment area incorporates seven parishes: Ireby & Uldale, Boltons, Westward & Rosley, Sebergham & Welton, Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby and Mungrisdale.
The issues for residents include:
- Fuel poverty, lack of facilities (e.g. shops), access to public services and transport, poor broadband and mobile phone coverage, increased fuel costs in order to travel to work, lack of central heating and the ageing population, predicted to rise to 59% over 65’s by 2030.
The aims of the Northern Fells Group are:
- to combat rural social isolation and exclusion
- to alleviate deprivation
- to improve access to services
- to enable people to remain independent, living in their own homes and in the area
To respond to these the Group has developed a range of services and activities, including a Community Minibus, a Village Agent service, Men in Sheds group, a Lend a Hand scheme, Benefits Awareness project and holiday play schemes – along with social and recreational activities – all supported by an army of volunteers.