Latest News and Bulletins

Northern Fells Group Care Fairs

The Northern Fells first Care Fair event was successfully held on 22nd March in Caldbeck.  This was jointly hosted and organised by Northern Fells Group & Dementia Action Alliance.   The event was well supported and many professional organisations attended including;

West Cumbria Carers, Cumbria Fire & Rescue, Public Health officials, Cumbria Police, Allerdale Memory Team, CCC Health & Wellbeing Team, Living Well Coaches (connected to Caldbeck Surgery), Cowper’s Mobility Centre Penrith (TECS supplier & mobility aids retailer), Careium Telecare & Alarms, Alzheimer’s Society, Wheels of Wellness, Cumbria Community Catalysts, Age UK, Cumbria Action For Sustainability, Meals on Wheels, Benefits Advisor DWP,  Penrith Lions (Message in a Bottle), Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as Agents, members and volunteers of  the Northern Fells Group/Dementia Action Alliance.

Lunch and refreshments on the day were provided by Denton House Caterers, Hesket Newmarket.

Several Drop-In sessions have subsequently been held around the Northern Fells area.  The next event ‘Saving Energy in the Home & Benefits’ will be at Westward Village Hall, Wednesday 6th July, 10 am – 11.30 am.   Age UK, Cold to Cosy Homes Cumbria, Di Bowes NFG Benefits Advisor as well as Janet Wilkinson the NFG Dementia Awareness Advisor will be on hand to offer advice.

The Home Energy Expo – Wednesday 7th September, Mungrisdale Village Hall 11am – 2pm.  Another opportunity to find out more about saving energy and benefits advice from;  Age UK, Cold to Cosy Homes Cumbria, Di Bowes NFG and other professional organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Cumbria Community Catalysts etc.

For more information please contact Janet Wilkinson NFG Dementia Awareness Advisor. [email protected]. Tel 017684 83206

Cost of Living Payments

Cost of Living Payment, Summer 2022

This is extra money from the Government to help with the increased cost of living, if you get certain benefits already.

You do not need to do anything, it will be sent to you automatically to the same bank account that your benefits go in to.

Low Income Benefits:     

If you have been on Low Income Benefits since before 25th May 2022 (e.g. Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-related ESA or Income-based JSA, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit), you will receive £326 at the end of July 2022 and a second amount of £324 (if still entitled) in the Autumn. N.B. For a couple both getting a Low Income benefit, it is only one payment per joint claim.

Disability Benefits:                                                                                                             

Additionally, a payment will be made if you have been on a Disability Benefit (e.g. Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment) since before 25th May 2022, and you will receive £150 from September 2022.  

Winter Fuel Payment:                                                                                                                         

Also, if you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment this year, you will get an extra £300 for your household, paid from November 2022.           

The payments are not taxed and will not affect any other benefits.

Further information can be found on this website:

or if you are a resident of the Northern Fells Group parishes, get in touch with me, Dianne Bowes, Benefits Awareness and Support, on  07752 457513  or email me on  [email protected]

For other parishes, Age UK West Cumbria 01900 844670 or Age UK Carlisle & Eden 01228 536673 or Citizens Advice Allerdale 01900 604735 or Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden 03444 111 444 are all very helpful.

Music for Dementia

Music for Dementia

Janet Wilkinson, Dementia Awareness Advisor – looks at the recently released

 ‘Power of Music Report’

Music for Dementia and UK Music have produced a powerful report on how music can be used to transform our health, wellbeing and communities.  The results of the report released on 19th April have been widely publicised as the report highlights the impact music can have on our lives. Here is a quick look at the summary they provided.

Chapter 1 considers the impact of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of the UK and our communities.

Chaper 2 looks at the “Power of Music in Action”. A double page summary of some of the outstanding academic and scientific research which illustrates the true potential of music as a therapeutic and medical tool.

Chapter 3 – “Music on the Ground” shares four very different case studies where music has been used to; help build communities in areas with high levels of poverty; improve the wellbeing of farmers in Northern Ireland through a community choir. Music and dance also being used to help boost mood in care homes and give residents, families and carers a “proper night out” and finally a case study by the MHA on putting music at the heart of the care it provides for its residents.

Chapter 4 sets out a framework to “Harness the Power of Music” with government, health and social care sectors as well as the music sector all playing a part.

Chapter 5 concludes that this report is just the beginning rather than the end of this piece of work. It’s now up to all of us to harness the power of music.

(The full report can be found on the Music for Dementia website).

There is overwhelming evidence that music can especially benefit people living with dementia and their carers. If you know anyone who you think may be interested to discover how music can improve wellbeing please get in touch. My contact details can be found on the NFG website.

Help with the Increased Cost Of Living –

Things to do to keep the bills down & maximise your income

  1. Maximise our income by claiming each and every Government Benefit/Local Authority Grant we are
    entitled to
  2. Reduce our outgoings by being more Energy Efficient, e.g. by improving Home Insulation
  3. Get rid of unnecessary costs, e.g. unused subscriptions

N.B. This information will be regularly added to as new schemes appear and previous ones are stopped, so please keep checking for new advice and forgive any out-dated information.
This year the cost of everyday living has spiralled to a new high and looks likely to continue, so here are
some suggestions from a variety of sources of how we can all:

Unclaimed benefits:
Huge numbers of people in the UK are entitled to either Disability Benefits or Earnings Related Benefits but are unaware of their eligibility – there are some really useful benefits calculators online at: or

There is extra money that the Government recognises some people need, for health or low income reasons and if you are eligible, you should claim if it would help you.
Not all benefits are means-tested.
Also, this extra income coming in to the county will spread to the local economy if you are then able to
• spend in local shops
• get the help you need at home e.g. gardener, cleaner or window cleaner
• buy more logs, oil, etc.
So it helps the whole community if you get extra money coming in.
If you think you may be eligible for a Benefit, you can apply online for some of them,
e.g. Blue Badge Parking Permit

But some need an initial phone call e.g. PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
And some are still paper forms e.g. Attendance Allowance, that you can print off the website or you can phone the Attendance Allowance helpline Telephone: 0800 731 0122 and ask them to send you a form,

General Hints and Tips:
The ‘Money Saving Expert’ website (Martin Lewis) has just produced a comprehensive guide of tips and
suggestions to reduce the cost of living- we are probably already doing some of these but there might be
new ideas here to try, particularly his emphasis on ‘Heat the Human, not the Home’.
Here is the link to the guide:

Local Council Support – Eden and Allerdale:
The local councils are funded by the Government for some permanent support schemes plus some
temporary ones, responding to need e.g. during the Covid Crisis.
The leaflet ‘Cost of Living Support’ from Cumbria County Council has some useful ideas for local support,

Direct Government Help:
Council Tax Rebate: In February it was announced that those people in the Council Tax bands A-D will get a rebate of £150 this year, to reduce their Council Tax costs. It will be taken off this year’s 2022/23 Council
Tax bill and DOES NOT NEED TO BE REPAID. Even if you have your Council Tax paid for you by the local
council under a – you will still receive this money.
The £150 will be sent automatically to your bank, if they have your bank details/pay by Direct Debit.

Energy Bill Help: In October 2022, every household will be given £200 direct to their energy supplier, to
reduce their bill while energy prices are so high. Those on a pre-pay meter will be paid through the Smart
meter or will receive a credit voucher. This money will be added back to your energy account from April
2023, at a rate of £40 a year. It is anticipated that unit prices for Gas and Electricity will have come down
by then so the £40 payment each year will have less effect.

Further information to follow.

Wigton Hospital Covid Vaccinations

A Rowan tree has been planted to mark the amazing work done by health workers and volunteers as part of the Covid vaccination programme in the area.

Watched by many volunteers involved in the scheme, the tree was planted in the grounds of Wigton hospital by Dr Richard Massey, a GP at Caldbeck surgery, and Simon Braithwaite of the Northern Fells Group.

More than 62,000 jabs have been given across the Keswick and Solway health areas since the crisis started – the vast majority at the Wigton hospital vaccination centre.

Some 161 volunteers gave up their time to man 2,753 shifts so the scheme could swing into action.

The volunteers were recruited and organised by Simon and manned the car park and queues at the hospital from December 21, 2020 until January 9 this year. They have also helped the spring vaccination programme .

Dr Massey, the clinical lead for Keswick and Solway Primary Care Network (PCN) said: “Our vaccination roll out simply wouldn’t have happened as safely and as speedily without all the volunteers who took part.

“We cannot thank our community enough for the way they have supported the programme – the volunteers that turned up in all weathers to help us at our hub at Wigton hospital and every single person who turned up and waited in line and smiled and chatted with our vaccination teams and did their bit to make sure they and their family and friends were protected.

Simon said: “The Covid 19 Pandemic was unprecedented in modern times. The response of the volunteers to the call for help was magnificent.

“Furthermore the volunteers carried on for over a year through all the weather that Cumbria could throw at them. “It is great to know that we still have such a strong Community spirit.”

Dr Massey also thanked Blood Bikes and neighbours near the hospital, including the Jehovahs Witness hall which allowed parking in its grounds.

The plaque to the tree reads: “In recognition and to thank volunteers and NHS colleagues for all their tireless work to deliver the Covid vaccination programme.”

The event was filmed by ITV Border and can be viewed here:

Wigton Hospital tree tribute to Covid vaccination volunteers across North Cumbria | ITV News Border

Winter Benefits 2021-2022

Are you aware that there are several sources of funding to help with the cost of keeping your home warm over the winter months? These include-


An extra payment of £200-£300 from the Government on top of your State Retirement Pension, paid by mid-January. It should be paid automatically with the pension, it will not affect other benefits and is tax free. To qualify, you must be born on or before 26th September 1955 & living in the UK during week 20-26 Sept 2021.

 If you do not get State Pension but do get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit you may also eligible, so please check by contacting Winter Fuel Payment Centre on 0800 731 0160


A £150 grant towards heating bills, available from the Cumbria Community Foundation.

The criteria are: you must be 60 years plus, in receipt of State Pension/Pension Credit or struggling to maintain a basic standard of living during the winter due to the cost of heating your home. If this money would help you to stay warm and comfortable this winter, please apply for this Grant, by contacting Age UK who administer the scheme.

Age UK West Cumbria     01900 844670 or 08443 843 843    or    Age UK Carlisle and Eden    01228 536673


This is a £140 payment from the Government, to help you to afford to heat your home over winter. It is paid as a credit to your account with your Energy Supplier.

If you get the ‘Guaranteed Credit’ part of Pension Credit you will automatically be contacted by letter before January and asked to call the Helpline 0800 731 0214 before 26th February 2021, to confirm your details.                  

Even if you do not get Pension Credit but are on a low income, you can claim as long as your Supplier is a part of this scheme and you get a means-tested benefit. Those on Pre-pay and Pay as You Go meters can apply too

A full list of suppliers plus further details, can be found on


From 1st Nov 2021 to 31st March 2022, people on Pension Credit, Universal Credit (& some income-based benefits if you or your child has a disability) may get a Cold Weather Payment from the Government of £25/week for every 7-day period that the average weather in your area is below freezing


A free service from Energy Suppliers for elderly, disabled, hearing/visually impaired or vulnerable people or those with pre-school children.

You will get: Advanced Notice of Power Cuts, Priority Support in an emergency (e.g. alternative heating/cooking facilities or electrical supply for medical equipment), password protection for Energy Supply Workers to contact you safely, meter readings done if you cannot do them yourself and you can nominate someone to act on your behalf in dealings with the supplier. To register, contact your own Energy Supplier.

If you live in the Northern Fells parishes of Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby, Ireby and Uldale, Mungrisdale, Sebergham and Welton, The Boltons, Westward and Rosley I am able to support you with any of these schemes. For those living outside our area,  I hope that this information will prompt you to find out more about these grants and benefits and to apply if eligible.

Age UK West Cumbria   01900 844670 or 08443 843 843 or Age UK Carlisle and Eden 01228 536673 and Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden  0344 411 1444 can offer support with applying.

Dianne Bowes, Benefits Support and Awareness Service, Northern Fells Group – Tel: 07752 457513

Annual General Meeting with Agenda

We would like to invite you to join us for our 18th Annual General Meeting of the Northern Fells Group (Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group)

  • Caldbeck Parish Hall
  • Tuesday 14th September 2021 at 7.00pm

For queries, contact Diane on 016974 78094 or email [email protected]


  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the last AGM, 7th October 2020
  3. Matters arising
  4. Chairman’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Adoption of Annual Report and Accounts.
  7. Election of Officers and Committee: Chairman, Vice Chairman and Honorary Treasurer, and 11 other members. Each of the seven parish councils is entitled to nominate a  committee member who shall also be eligible for election as an officer.
  8. Election of Secretary.
  9. Appointment of Independent Examiners (Auditors)
  10. Fixing of annual subscription.

Copies of the minutes from the last AGM are linked below, with the latest Annual Accounts available on the Reports page.

Dementia Friendly Communities Bulletin


With the clocks now turned back, and winter fast approaching, we have put a special winter bulletin
together. We have include some hints and tips on things you could be doing now to help for the
colder weather and shorter days, things to keep you occupied, and support available if you are caring
for someone.

Continue reading “Dementia Friendly Communities Bulletin”
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