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VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED! Age UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Cumbria Law Centre working in partnership across Carlisle and Eden to provide information and advice to people across Carlisle and Eden Districts.  We need more volunteers to help us increase access to information and advice on a wide range of topics from benefits and debt to employment. The volunteering roles within each organisation will vary depending on your interests and the time you have available to undergo training and subsequently volunteer.  For more information click here.



ADVICE SERVICES NOW AVAILABLE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES IN CARLISLE & EDEN An exciting and innovative way of accessing advice is available for the first time in rural parts of Carlisle & Eden. People living in rural areas will be able to receive advice and assistance from the four key advice providers in Carlisle & Eden: Age UK, Citizens Advice, Benefits Advice Service Carlisle City Council and the Cumbria Law Centre. The charities (together with the Benefits Advice Service in Carlisle) are partners in Carlisle and Eden Advice Link, a project funded by the Big Lottery.  People will be able to access the wide-ranging advice and information services currently offered by the respective agencies. A vast range of advice and information is available to people accessing the services - from the hugely comprehensive service offered by generalist advisors at Citizens Advice, to the legal casework and representation from caseworkers from Citizens Advice and the Law Centre, as well as other specialism’s, including Debt, Welfare Benefits and issues facing older people. This service is available via Skype video technology, whereby clients and advisers can see and speak with each other, but can also share documents, have photos taken (e.g. for a blue badge application) and can work together to complete applications (e.g. for benefits) online.

The equipment is currently housed at the following locations and the project employs a worker, Mark Barrett, to ensure that things run smoothly.  There is also an extra system at the Trades Hall in Workington, Alston Town Hall, Appleby Library, Brampton Community Centre, Longtown Community Centre, Mill Gardens Kirkby Stephen, Shap Medical Practice and Workington Trades Hall.

People can access this service by contacting the advice charities by phone – Age UK on 01228 536673 or 01768 863618, Citizens Advice on 01768 891503 or 01228 633900, Benefits Advice Service 01228 917406 and the Law Centre on 01228 515129 – where an assessment will take place and suitable action, including making an appointment taken. Andy Auld, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden said, “When this project started, all the partners felt we needed to improve access to quality advice for people living in the more remote and isolated areas of the district who would struggle to get to Carlisle & Penrith. This will be a very important way in which people can access the advice they need at the time they most need it.”

Mark Barrett, Project Worker for Advice Link said “The Project will allow people living in remote areas who are unable to get to Carlisle & Penrith, easy access to all the advice partners.  The system is designed to be very easy to use for both clients and advisers alike”.

Pete Moran, Centre Manager of Cumbria Law Centre added, “Some people might feel a little nervous about using a video-link system to access advice services. But our work is all about people – using people with skills and knowledge to help people facing problems. This system is just a way of putting people together. It is the next best thing to being in the same room with an advisor. So far, each person who has used it has given very positive feedback and many report they hardly noticed the system at all after just a few minutes.’

Alison Ambrose, Chief Executive of Carlisle & Eden Age UK said, “As people get older access to services is a priority and they need that service to be close to them wherever they are.  This project enables Age UK to work in a different way to provide their information and advice services to vulnerable people in hard to reach areas.”

Karen Osborne from the Benefits Advice Service commented, “It is hoped that using innovative technology, and working together with our partner agencies, we can improve access to our respective services for those who are vulnerable, in need and rurally isolated”.

For more information contact: Mark Barrett on 07823 410051



AGE UK Carlisle and Eden

New support for older people living in rural areas Rurally isolated older people to receive new accessible support from Age UK Carlisle and Eden’s Rural Eden and Carlisle Healthwatch (REACH) project. The Big Lottery Funded REACH project aims to help older people to improve their health, wellbeing and community engagement. The project, running from February 2016, will take a holistic approach, helping older people with FINANCE, FITNESS and FRIENDSHIP. This focus comes from the three issues older people in rural areas have raised as being most important to them, which are the inability to afford basic necessities such as food, transport and heating, a lack of company, and ill health. Sue Capel REACH lead officer said: “I feel excited by the idea of being able to start something new in our rural areas and to be able to work very closely over a period of time with individual clients in their own homes. I recognise it has its challenges but I feel that with the staff we have involved with the project that we will succeed.”

Depending on individual circumstances, the REACH team can help with the following areas of need:

Volunteers needed We are looking for community based volunteers for our new REACH project. If you have a couple of hours to spare each week and would like to make a positive difference to the wellbeing of older people living your rural community then this could be the role for you.

REACH volunteers will provide support to isolated older people, helping them to build confidence and resilience and to reconnect with the local community by accompanying them to local social and healthy living groups. Full training and support available and travel expenses paid. For more Information, to make a referral or volunteer please contact one of our Carlisle REACH officers Tel: 01228 536673. Email: reach@ageukcarlisleandeden.org.uk

 REACH officers Left to right Bev Hall, Carol Brack, Sue Capel and Samantha Ridley