support group Berwick

New Support Group for Berwick

Without Limits began following a conversation between Janey Dixon, a registered paramedic and Lorna Chappell, a Link Worker. Having suffered two strokes Janey found that she could no longer work on the frontline and overnight life as she knew it was over. She was 52. What followed could only be understood by someone who has suffered a similar experience. In a thousand ways, life was harder and the reality of her situation and the process of adjustment took its toll on Janey. What shocked her the most perhaps, was the realisation that there was absolutely no provision, once the six weeks of support had ended, for people like her who had been through a catastrophic health event while still of working age.

In partnership with the GP Link Workers, RuralUs and the North Northumberland Voluntary Forum and with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, Without Limits is ready to welcome new members. Based in Berwick but open to everyone from all over North Northumberland, and with the focus firmly on living life to its fullest, this new support group is open to 35-65 year olds following a life altering health event or diagnosis. There will be opportunities to link up via Zoom and chat on the phones initially. As soon as restrictions allow, the group will all be able to get together and enjoy walks, regular guest speakers, trips out for meals, social gatherings, music events and theatre nights, all chosen and planned by the members themselves. The group is also looking for volunteers who have experience of living with a life altering illness either through supporting others or personally.

If you or anyone you know may benefit from being part of Without Limits or would like more information call 0787 918 4693, email or visit the Facebook page.


Find details of other support groups and services across the region

NHS Long Term Plan – our report

Thanks to everyone who told us their views on the local implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England and NHS Improvement asked Healthwatch to work with communities across the country to find out how the NHS Long Term Plan should be implemented at a local level. More than 30,000 people from across England shared their views about how the NHS can better support them in keeping well and how it can improve care for specific conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and autism.

Staff and volunteers from all 151 local Healthwatch across England also held more than 500 focus groups, bringing together people from all sections of the community to share how they would improve local NHS services.


Overall Satisfaction

In Northumberland, the specific health conditions which people told us about were cancer, autism, heart and lung diseases, mental health and long term conditions. People with cancer and autism reported the most positive experiences and those experiencing dementia and mental health services, the most negative. Of this group of respondents 62% felt the support they received when they first tried to access help did not meet their needs, 23% felt it did meet their needs and 15% thought it met their needs ‘somewhat’. 17% described the waiting time to receive an initial diagnosis as ‘fast’ with 63% rating it as ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’. Those with mental health conditions were the most dissatisfied with the speed of being referred to a specialist, cancer was the only condition where the referral rate was said to be ‘fast’. People with specific conditions show a preference for diagnostic services to be within an hour’s travel time. This is especially marked for those with mental health problems.


Travelling for Diagnosis

71% of respondents in this category used a car as their way of travelling. Living in a large rural county an hour’s travel time is important as it has different implications for those who can drive to appointments and those who rely on public transport or being driven by friends and family. Those with dementia reported using a taxi and carers pointed out the difficulty of driving with a person with dementia. The difficulty of accessing alternative or planned transport – either NHS or charitable – was noted, as dementia is not routinely an automatic qualifying condition. People with specific conditions showed a higher preference for services up to one hour travelling time away, but were prepared to travel further.

The feedback we received in Northumberland via surveys and the focus groups we held fed into the combined Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Durham report.

Read the full report



CompassionART: Creative sessions in Hexham

CompassionArt is a project working with people in and around Hexham who have long term health conditions and/or mental health issues which prevent them from working and/or have major impact on their day to day abilities. When living with long term health conditions we can often find that life opportunities diminish vastly, leading to lack of confidence and isolation. It is however, important that any activities offered are sensitive to individuals needs and health limitations.

The project has been structured to ensure empathy and compassion with participants, but it will also provide (appropriate) stimulating challenges and opportunities. It is designed so that most of the activities could be continued beyond the project by the individual. The project offers a series of stimulating and engaging creative activities to bring people together in a calm and supportive environment, breaking down isolation.

The sessions will include art, gong workshops, woodland workshops and creative writing. There are 20 sessions all led by artists, experts and fully qualified practitioners.

Please visit the website for more details and to book on to sessions.


MS Society logo

MS Society Open Evening

Coming Together

The MS Society is holding a consultation session in Berwick for anyone affected by MS.

For more details please contact: