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Sue Crawford writes

THE dangers of social media are highlighted in a film written and produced in Carlisle.

The short video, which shows vulnerable people and those with learning disabilities how to stay safe, was made possible thanks to a grant awarded to Carlisle Mencap from the Community Fund.

It was handed over to the charity by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall who described the film as “fantastic.”

Called Think First It’s Real, the video is aimed at those who use online platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, has just been launched. It is written, produced and performed by members of Carlisle Mencap’s Independence Studio, helped by the Haltwhistle Film Project team which helps communities and projects produce ‘inspirational’ films.

Mr McCall said: “It is fantastic that with support from the Community Fund, Carlisle Mencap is able to produce this film which is crucial in getting the message across that you should stop and think about what you are doing when you are online. It also tells you that if you find yourself in a troubling situation you need to speak to someone you trust immediately.

“It is vital that everyone has the opportunity to access up-to-date resources like this new film.”

Sheila Gregory, CEO at Carlisle Mencap, said the charity was grateful for the support of the Crime Commissioner.

She added: “Think First It’s Real is very pertinent now because during lockdown many people like those with learning disabilities are spending even more time alone, in their bedrooms, on their computers. With no-one around to ask advice, they are even more vulnerable to online exploitation and abuse.”

Carlisle Mencap is a Cumbria-wide charity providing support and services for more than 500 children and adults with learning disabilities and their families. The Independence Studio is based at its Grace Little Centre for children at Kingmoor Park North, Carlisle.

To watch the film – go to




Getting the message across Think First It’s Real!  By Carlisle, Mencap Highlights the dangers of cyberbullying and online abuse

Meeting the filmmakers: Crime Commissioner Peter McCall with members of the

Independence Studio at Carlisle Mencap



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"a new way of enjoying our food for tourists and locals.  

Dave Keighley speaks with

Sue Crawford

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Foodies can tickle their taste buds in lockdown thanks to a new catering scheme launched in Cumbria.

The Yan in Grasmere is helping hospitality businesses by offering a wholesale meal provision service for local hospitality businesses who can’t currently provide catering for guests themselves.

The popular bistro with beds, which is run in Grasmere by the Keighley-Manley family opened to rave reviews in 2019.

 Many businesses in the Lake District and Cumbria have had to rethink their pre-lockdown food offerings and The Yan is now coming to the aid of these, providing a wholesale, homemade ready meal service so hotels, B&Bs and self-catering cottages can offer delicious comfort food to their guests without having to do any involved cooking themselves.

The Yan has also launched a Hot Takeaway service and a Click and Collect heat-at-home service for holidaymakers staying in self-catering accommodation, and locals too. 

 Dave Keighley, who runs The Yan with his wife Sally, daughter Jess and son-in-law Will said: 

“We want to be as agile and proactive as possible and with The Yan Untethered, we hope we are providing some practical and valuable solutions for local hospitality businesses, as well as a new way of enjoying our food for tourists and locals.  

“We’ve launched a nationwide food delivery service too, so we are hoping for busy weeks and months ahead. The interest so far has been very promising, and we feel optimistic.”

 To find out more about The Yan and The Yan Untethered, please visit

Climbing life's mountains changes lives

Paul Emmerson challenges himself and others to benefit the Jigsaw Children's Hospice, Carlisle

Sue Crawford explains





Life changed for Paul Emmerson when he climbed the fabled African peak Mount Kilimanjaro. After descending the 5,895m (19, 340ft) dormant volcano in Tanzania, Paul bought a tanzanite stone which he got cast into an engagement ring for his, then girlfriend, Jackie.


The couple, who have five children between them, married in 2016 at Armathwaite Hall Hotel near Bassenthwaite in north Cumbria. Paul said: “The trip was amazing and while I was there, I purchased the tanzanite stone which I got cast into an engagement ring for Jackie. She loves the story behind the ring and tells it to anyone who listens!” His Kilimanjaro challenge raised almost £11,000 for the Jigsaw children’s hospice in Carlisle, through corporate sponsorship, donations from friends and family and a fundraising night.


Now seven years after the trip, Paul is planning another major climb, again in aid of Jigsaw. He is to climb Kang Yatse in the Himalayas to celebrate turning 50 this year with friend Darren Jones. They are due to go in September 2021. Paul, who is an electrical contracts manager with Carlisle electrical engineering company, Park Gate, started trekking around 12 years ago. He explained: “I began walking leisurely in the Lake District and then we formed a group of four at work to walk Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for a work colleague who has a disabled son. As a group, we raised around £7,000. “Following that I did the Three Peaks Challenge climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours. We did it just for the fun of it really but ended up getting soaked through on each one! “


Then during a beer-fuelled night, Darren introduced me to the prospect of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I did this in October 2013 with a group I had just met at Heathrow Airport. Darren had done it three times previously as a medic and didn’t go on this trip. “It was amazing, and I met a fabulous group of friends who I am still in regular contact with.”


Plans for Paul and Darren’s Himalayan trip have developed over the past couple of years after they decided they needed a new challenge. Paul, who went to the now closed Eden School in Rickerby Park, said: “We came up with the idea of climbing the 6,153m (20,187ft) Stok Kangri in the Himalayas as this would be the first 20,000 ft peak for both of us and would form part of my 50th birthday year celebrations. “Sadly, the mountain has been closed for a few years to let the land regenerate, so we are now doing Kang Yatse, which at 6,400m (20,997ft) is slightly higher than Stok Kangri. “I am raising funds again for Jigsaw so any help would be greatly appreciated.”


To donate to Paul’s challenge go to Sam Johnston, Events Lead at Eden Valley was full of praise for Paul’s forthcoming adventure. He said: "It is amazing Paul has chosen to support Jigsaw again by completing this challenge in Nepal. It looks like a spectacular and memorable challenge and the money raised by Paul really will make a huge difference at the children's hospice. “Jigsaw is the only children's hospice in the county and the support of Paul and the local community, allows us to offer the highest standards of care, support and activities to local children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses.”


Coincidentally Eden Valley Hospice will celebrate its 30th anniversary next Autumn with a different 12-day challenge to Nepal which will see participants taking in some of the highlights of the Himalayas. They will also help with a hospice project in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Hospice Nepal was set up by a team of local doctors in 2000 to provide free medicines, therapies, and support for those in need. Over two days they will paint rooms and improve kitchen and bathroom facilities.



For details about fundraising please contact the Fundraising Team on 01228 817656

or email For Information about care, support and activities provided at Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice please visit