Latest News and Bulletins

Northern Fells Meals on Wheels Service

The Northern Fells Group has agreed to take over the running of the Meals on Wheels service in the local area.

We will continue to offer Meals 3 days a week and the meals are being provided from The Odd Fellows pub at Caldbeck.

All the food ingredients are sourced as locally as possible and are cooked fresh on the day you get the meal.

Prices for a Main course and Pudding is £6.50

Examples of the food you can order are shown below.

Main Courses – Fish and Chips – Chicken and Vegetables – delicious!

Puddings – Crème brûlée or Sticky Toffee – what’s not to like?

If you are interested please contact Simon Braithwaite 016974 77196 or simon.[email protected] to register your interest.

Volunteers return to Wigton Hospital May 23

After helping to turn around a courtyard garden at Wigton Hospital a small group of volunteers returned to refurbish and clean a greenhouse so that plants can be grown on site.

This will help the gardening sessions run by the Well being Coaches from the local surgeries.

Jude, Paul and Simon replaced missing panels, emptied, sorted and then put the salvageable items such as tools and trays back in the greenhouse. They also fixed the panels so that they hopefully wouldn’t blow out again.

Mosedale Coffee Shop 2023

‘Fancy volunteering in our coffee shop this summer?

The Northern Fells Group Coffee Shop in Mosedale is hugely successful at helping raise funds for our much needed community services and activities. Not only that, it’s also a great place to volunteer and mingle with like minded folk.

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch by emailing: [email protected] or give the office a call –

016974 78094, leave a message if we’re not in and we’ll make sure we call you back. 😀

Volunteers help to restore Wigton Hospital Garden

The Northern Fells Group was asked to provide and co-ordinate volunteers to help with the Covid 19 vaccination programme for the Keswick & Solway Primary Care Network, which comprises 7 surgeries. This assistance was provided at Wigton Hospital over a period of 16 months. At an event, which celebrated the work done by the volunteers and NHS teams, the Northern Fells Group was approached by Hazel Stewart, the Wellbeing Activator for Keswick & Solway ICC . She asked if the volunteers could help turn around a courtyard garden at Wigton Hospital, that needed some TLC.

Shaun assembles a picnic bench

After clearing the site the team are now in the build stage, so a picnic table has been brought to the site and will be amended for wheelchair users. The existing flower bed has been tidied up and a new raised bed is in the process of being built. Where possible the materials used have been re-purposed. A garden storage shed, fated to go to the tip, has been restored by Men in Sheds Caldbeck, who also made window boxes out of reclaimed pallet wood.

Once the garden is in good order it will be used as a place where patients and staff can sit outside, but also be an ongoing project, with certain patients helping to maintain the garden. It is well known that being in a garden, and the activity of working with plants, is therapeutic, being beneficial in helping people with various health issues, in particular mental health issues. There are various elements in the garden which need some attention. The garden already has one raised bed for flowers. This is made of railway sleepers and our volunteers are refurbishing it. A second raised bed is being built from scratch. This will have sensory plants in it, suitable for helping visually impaired patients and providing people with other sensory disorders a focus via touch, scent , colour & texture. Each raised bed will be accessible to wheelchair users.

Jude measuring twice before cutting!

We had a very small budget for this project, so many thanks for all the support we have received, either financially or in materials, to enable us to complete it.

Simon and Eugene put the first layer of the new raised bed together

We have been helped by the following: Caldbeck Surgery Charitable fund, J Stobart and Sons, Lloyds Carpets Wigton and individual donations. If anyone reading this has any perennial plants they are willing to donate please get in touch with Simon. Drought tolerant plants, trailing plants for the window boxes or anything with a great scent would be appreciated.

After 2 work sessions one in the rain the other in the hot sun the bed was completed and the top soil loaded in. The final jobs were then done such as painting the window boxes and sanding down the wooden garden furniture. The Raised bed was then planted up.

The 2 Paul’s loading soil into the raised bed
Sue paints the new Window boxes
Final Sanding of the garden furniture
Jude planting up
The Raised bed planted up

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

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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