The Churches Together in Cumbria Dementia Project:

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

The Dementia Project is now in its 5th 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 on November 16th 2019 at Penrith Methodist Church attracted approximately 80 delegates and we were delighted to welcome Wendy Mitchell, author of the book 'Somebody I used to know' and daily blog 'whichmeamitoday?'

Our 5th conference is to be held on Saturday September 19th from 9.30am-3pm at The Border Kirk, Chapel Street, Carlisle CA1 1JA. Confirmed speakers so far include Rt Revd James Newcome: Bishop of Carlisle, David Richardson: Vice-President of Churches Together in Cumbria and the incoming CEO of the Alzheimer's Society. Marking the end of the current Dementia Project, we hope this conference will be a celebration of all that has been achieved, as well as launching forward into Anna Chaplaincy. More information about Anna Chaplaincy can be found HERE

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 (March 2020) towards 150 people have attended sessions hosted by the Dementia Project which have provided opportunity to explore what it means to create churches that are dementia friendly. Many of these have gone on to be nominated to the role of Dementia Enabler for their church of group of churches.
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
Cleator: St Mary's Church. A service of Reflection and Prayers: A Biblical yoga service, 1st Monday of the month 1.00pm.
Kendal: Kendal Parish Church 3rd Thursday of the month 2.30pm
Langwathby: Langwathby Methodist Chapel, 1st Tuesday of the month 2.00pm
Penrith: Christ Church every Friday 2.30pm

Milnthorpe: St Thomas Church 3rd Thursday of the month 2.00pm
Upcoming events:
May 2nd 
- Anna Chaplaincy Enquirer's Day, Keswick Quaker Meeting House 9.30am-1.00pm. A day for anyone wishing to find out more about Anna Chaplaincy in Cumbria. To book a place contact: 

July 9th - Dementia Reference Group Meeting, The Haydock Centre, St Catherine's Church, Drover's Lane, Penrith 1-3pm.

July 25th -Gathering of Dementia Enablers in Eden, The Haydock Centre, St Catherine's Church, Drover's Lane, Penrith 10am-12noon.

September 19th - 5th Annual Churches Together in Cumbria National Dementia Conference, The Border Kirk, Chapel St, Carlisle, CA1 1JA, 9.30am-3.00pm. To book in please contact:

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.

Churches or groups of churches across Cumbria who currently have a Dementia Enabler. These are arranged in alphabetical order of place and then the name of the particular church or group.
Allithwaite: St Marys
Alston Moor Parish Church
Arnside Methodist Church
Arnside: St James
Aspatria with Hayton and Gilcrux
Barrow: Beacon Hill Methodist
             Trinity Centre
             Ramsden St URC
             St Georges
             St Pauls
             Spring Mount
Barbon Parish Church
Bassenthwaite Methodist Church
Beetham Parish Church
Binsey Mission Community
Brampton Methodist Church
Brathay Holy Trinity
Brigflatts Quaker Meeting
Brigham Methodist Church
Bromfield St Mungos
Carlisle Border Kirk
             Our Lady & St Josephs
             St Bedes
             Wigton Rd Methodist Church
             St Georges URC
             St James
             St John the Baptist
             St Augustines
Carnforth Free Methodist Church
Cartmel Quaker Meeting
Cockermouth All Saints
                      Christ Church
                      Kings Church
                      Lorton St Methodist Church
Crook St Catherines
Cumberland Area Quaker Meeting
East of Eden Mission Community All Saints Renwick
                                                      St Nicholas Lazonby
                                                      Langwathby Methodist Church
Frizington St Johns
Gilsland Methodist Church
Grange Methodist Church
             St Pauls
Greystoke St Andrews
Heversham St Peters
High Hesket St Marys
Houghton with Kingsmoor
Skelton St Michaels
Kendal Parish Church
            Holy Trinity & St George
            Sandylands Methodist Church
            St Thomas’
            Salvation Army
            Quaker Meeting
Keswick Crosthwaite Parish Church
               Methodist Church
               St Johns
Kirkby in Furness Methodist Church
Kirkby Stephen Upper Eden Baptist Church
Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Tebay Methodist Circuit
Lamplugh, Kirkland & Ennerdale LEP
Leith/Lyvennet Parishes
Levens Methodist Church
             Parish Church
Longtown Methodist Church
Low Furness Churches
Lune Parishes
Maryport Our Lady & St Patrick
Millom Baptist Church
           Methodist Church
Milnthorpe St Thomas
Mirehouse St Andrews
Moresby St Bridgets
Natland, Old Hutton, New Hutton
Penrith Christ Church
             Methodist Church
             Quaker Meeting
             St Andrews
             St Catherines
             Salvation Army
Ravenstonedale: St Oswalds
Scotby, Cotehill & Cumwhitton
Sedburgh Parish Church
Silverdale St Johns
Solway Methodist Circuit
South Lakes Methodist Circuit
Stanix St Michaels
Stavely, Ings & kentmere
Two Valleys Team
Ulverston Methodist Church
                Parish Church
Walney St Marys
Whitehaven Methodist Circuit
                    Parish Church
                    Woodbank Community Church
Wigton Methodist Circuit
Windermere Carver Uniting Church
                     Methodist Church
                     St Marys
                     Quaker Meeting
Workington Christ the Good Shepherd
                    United Church
                    St Johns
Wreay St Marys