Libraries in Carlisle and Penrith have been awarded special status.

They are two of six libraries across Cumbria to receive ‘healthy status’ for their work in supporting their communities.

As part of the Healthy Library Initiative, library staff were trained in mental health first aid, dementia awareness, and suicide awareness amongst others.

Carlisle Library has hosted events such as falls prevention advice sessions in partnership with Age UK, dementia awareness coffee mornings, and mental health mindfulness sessions.

Penrith Library has hosted similar events such as coffee mornings during mental health week, and free English language sessions.

Rose Cherry, Cumbria County Council Community Services Officer in Eden, said: “After we ran our first baby first-aid session, one of the parents involved came back into the library to say he had had to use the skills learned soon afterwards when his child choked. He was so grateful he knew what to do.

“We had great success supporting the Change4Life campaign too and received many compliments from parents who had attended our healthy eating sessions and been inspired to try new healthy foods with their families.

“We’d encourage more people to come and visit our libraries, chat to us and let’s continue to work together to improve our health and wellbeing. We can help people with so much.”

The Healthy Library Initiative was introduced in 2017 by Public Health, Library and Community Development teams as a way to support vulnerable people in the county.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, said: “Our libraries offer so many great services for people of all ages, and their locations in the heart of our communities make them perfect to promote health and wellbeing too.

“I’m delighted our teams are working together to improve the services our libraries are offering.”