The Churches Together in Cumbria Dementia Project:

‘Making every church in Cumbria ‘dementia friendly’ by 2020’

The Dementia Project is now in its 4th year and is working towards its stated aim to make every church in Cumbria ‘dementia friendly’ by 2020. Churches are striving to become places of welcome and belonging for all those affected by dementia, whether regular church goers, lapsed church attenders, or those who have never attended church before. The Project aims to help churches review and improve what they do for those affected by dementia who may need extra help or support, working to create communities of acceptance, belonging, inclusion and welcome.
At its heart, the Project is creating a network of Dementia Enablers, people in their local churches who are working with their local church leadership to make the vision of the Project a reality where they are.

Dementia Enablers are nominated by their churches who pledge to support and pray for them, as well as to work with them to give due consideration to any recommendations they may make in the pursuit of a dementia friendly church.
We ask that Dementia Enablers:
  • Should be, or become, a Dementia Friend and should encourage others to become Dementia Friends also;
  • Should have a general awareness of the support services that are available in their local community for people affected by dementia.
  • Should encourage the local church or group of churches to become dementia-friendly, and we ask them to think about this in terms of the churches’ Welcome, Worship and Environment.
‘Dementia-friendly, in terms of Welcome, Worship and Environment’ may be summarised as ‘how’ ‘what’ and ‘where’?
  • How: how do we communicate with people with dementia and their carers; how do we make people welcome?
  • What: what steps can we take to help people with dementia take part in worship?  What might dementia-friendly worship entail?
  • Where:  what can we do (within the constraints of a given place of worship) to ensure that it is accessible for people with dementia and that issues such as safety, signage, use of space and lighting are addressed
Dementia Enablers are supported by:
  • an initial training day, and annual Development Days
  • a questionnaire, devised for us by the Christian disability charity ‘Livability’, which helps them assess how their church is responding to people affected by dementia and where action is needed
  • a Handbook of information, including contact details for local support services (from providers such as Alzheimer's Society)
  • an Enablers’ newsletter every three months
  • local Enabler Gatherings across the county for mutual sharing and support.
In addition, the Dementia Project hosts an annual Churches Together Dementia Conference. Our 4th Conference is on November 16th 2019 at the URC Penrith 9.30-3.30. We are delighted that our keynote speaker is to be Wendy Mitchell, author of the daily blog ‘whichmeamitoday’ and her recently published book ‘Somebody I used to know’.   If you would like to book for the Conference please contact
Churches are responding to the challenge of the Project in many different ways and there is no right or wrong way to do so. Examples of this response include:
  • a comfortable seating area in church with cushions and throws
  • dementia friendly pew cards
  • an information file outlining local resources for those affected by dementia
  • church based Memory Clubs
  • Tea Services: short services with familiar readings and hymns followed by tea, cake and conversation
  • Representation on local Dementia Action Alliances
In other places, individuals are quietly getting alongside those affected by dementia to enable them to stay part of the life of the church in meaningful ways despite their diagnosis.
To date, (June 2019)  there are 134 Enablers at 122 locations across the County. There is much to celebrate, but still much to be done!
For more information about the Dementia Project  or if you would like to become a Dementia Enabler in your church, please do contact me, Yvonne Povey, Dementia Project Officer,
Regular Tea Services:
Barrow: Holy Family Church, 2nd Monday of the month 2.00pm
Carlisle: URC, West Walls, 3rd Tuesday of the month 2.00pm
Kendal: Kendal Parish Church 3rd Thursday of the month 2.30pm
Penrith: Christ Church every Friday 2.30pm
Millom: Lapstone House, Lapstone Rd, 3rd Friday of the month 10.30am
Milnthorpe: St Thomas Church 3rd Thursday of the month 2.00pm
Upcoming events:
Saturday June 22nd 10-12 Meeting of South Lakes Dementia Enablers, Kendal Parish Church. All Dementia Enablers from the South Lakes/Lancs areas are welcome to attend this informal gathering. 
Saturday July 6th 10-11 Training for new Dementia Enablers, The Pot Place Plumpton. Please contact Yvonne Povey to book in for this.
Saturday July 6th 10-12 Meeting of Eden Dementia Enablers, The Haydock Centre, St Catherine’s Penrith. All Dementia Enablers from across the Eden Valley are welcome to attend this informal gathering.
Tuesday September 17th 10.30-12.30 Meeting of Carlisle Dementia Enablers, Carlisle URC West Walls. All Dementia Enablers from around Carlisle are welcome to attend this informal gathering.
Saturday November 16th 9.30-3.30 The fourth annual Churches Together Dementia Conference. Penrith URC, Lowther St. To book a place please contact Emma Brown
Featured are some resources that may be of use generally in terms of working with older people, those affected by dementia, and more specifically those that focus on creating dementia friendly church.
Here you can sign up for the monthly newsletter and access downloads relating to dementia friendly church.
A wealth of material exploring the spiritual aspects of the lives of older people as well as information about creating dementia friendly church
A website full of resources relating to ministering to older people, plus a regular newsletter you can sign up to.
A lot of information here, including factsheets on many topics that can be downloaded.
Shows you how to become a Dementia Friend and how to help others become Dementia Friends too.

ADRU Benefice (Aldingham, Dendron, Rampside & Urswick)
Cockermouth All Saints Kirkby in Furness Methodist Church
Penrith Salvation Army
Allithwaite St Mary’s
Cockermouth Christ Church
Penrith URC
      Ravenstonedale: St Oswald’s
Alston Moor Parish Church
Cockermouth: Lorton Street
Methodist Church
Kirkby Stephen, Appleby & Tebay Circuit Scotby with Cotehill & Cumwhinton
Arnside Methodist Church
Crook St Catherine’s
Kirkby Stephen: Upper Eden Baptist Church
Sedbergh Parish Church
Arnside St James’
    Silverdale St Johns
Arnside Our Lady of Lourdes
Aspatria with Hayton & Gilcrux benefice
Cumberland Area QM Lamplugh, Kirkland & Ennerdale LEP
Solway Methodist Circuit
  East of Eden Mission Community: Langwathby Methodist Church   South Lakes Methodist Circuit
  East of Eden Mission Community, St Nicholas Lazonby.    
  East of Eden Mission Community, All Saints, Renwick
  Frizington St John’s Methodist
 Barrow: Beacon Hill Methodist Church
Gilsland Methodist Chapel Leith Lyvennet Parishes Stanwix St Michael’s
Barrow:  Trinity Church Centre
Gosforth Parish Church Levens Methodist Church
Staveley, Ings & Kentmere
Barrow: Ramsden St URC
Grange Methodist Church
Levens Parish Church
Two Valleys Team (Underbarrow with Helsington, Cartmel Fell, Crosthwaite, Winster & Witherslack)