Making jumpers for chickens to tackle seclusion

Older residents in a remote Eden village have taken matters into their own hands to combat rural isolation and lack of services.

Nenthead VillageSix women from Nenthead near Alston came together to form the Nenthead Dabblers, a weekly social craft group. They meet at one of the members’ homes and have recently recruited their first male member.

Alston has no community centre, café or club for residents to socialise. An infrequent bus service also makes it a challenge for those with limited mobility to access services and amenities.

In September this year the group received £500 from Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme’s Small Grants Fund to purchase a pottery kiln.

Clay work is a favourite in the group and they are currently crafting ornaments to raise funds for the village chapel restoration fund.

Chickens in jumpers!They’ve also taken on projects from knitting pullovers for battery hens being re-homed, to creating woollies for the Armed Forces and patchwork quilts for homeless charity Shelter.

Sandie Craig, Project Leader said: “Alston is extremely beautiful but also very isolated with essential services cut back constantly. Many residents are also elderly or infirm – isolation is a key factor in their mental health.”

Asked about how the grant helped, Sandie said: “It was a real blessing as it’s the first piece of equipment the group has bought. It will be instrumental to the success of our fundraising.”

Membership to join the Nenthead Dabblers is free and open to all. Contact Liz for more information or call 01900 825760.