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Bursaries available for Cumbrian Writers

Following the launch of the Hunter Davies Bursaries last year, three more awards of £1,000 each are available to anyone working on a Cumbrian book project, or thinking of doing one.

Administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, the bursaries were first launched last year by the author and journalist Hunter Davies who wants to help people write and publish non-fiction books with a Cumbrian setting. Anyone, of any age can apply, and they do not have to be based in Cumbria. The vital thing is that the contents must be mostly about Cumbria.

Submissions must be received by 10th May and will be judged by a panel of three eminent Cumbrian’s with literary leanings or publishing and media experience.

This  year they will  be:  Eric  Robson,  broadcaster,  author and chairman of  Cumbria Tourism;  Dawn Robertson, publisher of Hayloft Publishing of Kirkby Stephen;  Hunter Davies, author  and  journalist.

“It really comes out of the success of the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, which is now in its 29th year” says Mr Davies.  “We have noticed that more and more of the entries are coming from amateur first time authors who have become fascinated by some aspect of Cumbria life – their village, their church, their football team, or want to write about Cumbrian worthies or causes, or do some historical research.

Last year, proposed subjects ranged from autobiography, biography, cooking, climbing, the history of a house, an Inn, a dead poet, a village, a town and a book about some interesting trees. The three fortunate recipients were Margaret Poland from Maryport, who was working on a memoir about her early life, Ian Hill from Cockermouth, who was writing a book about the Cumbrian environment under threat, and Ian Hall from Keswick, who was doing his autobiography.

Mr Davies continues “The idea is to support anyone financially with a worthwhile idea.  Perhaps pay for their research time, writing time or towards publishing their book. It will be an encouragement, we hope, for them to carry on – though it is hoped that they are so in love with their subject that they would have carried on anyway. The bursary will give them a little push- and a little bit of money.

“Some of the bursary winners might go on to write best selling books, though we are looking to support authors and projects who will not appeal much to mainstream, commercial publishers. If that happens, let’s hope they will do the decent thing and give their bursary award back, so we can pass it onto other authors.”

It is planned that the three bursaries will be announced early June and will be invited to meet Hunter Davies at Dovenby Hall, near Cockermouth.

Andy Beeforth, Director of Community Foundation said “We’re delighted Hunter has created this fund with the Foundation.  We’re grateful for his generosity and his thoughtfulness. The bursaries provide an opportunity for a number of aspiring writers to get a leg up and will shine a light on an aspect of Cumbrian life or culture.”  He went onto say “The Fund demonstrates how people can make a real difference to an issue they care about by creating a fund with the Foundation”.

Further details and how to apply can be found here.

Winter Warmth Fund School’s Competition Winners Announced

Children from five schools across the county are each celebrating winning £200 worth of pencils in a competition run by Cumbria Community Foundation and The Cumberland Pencil Company.

The youngsters took up the artistic challenge of re-creating the Winter Warmth Fund Logo – a house with a woolly hat on – in a bid to win the prizes.

Andy Beeforth, Director of CCF; James Newcome, the Bishop of Carlisle; Hannah Birkinshaw, Ben Booth, Matthew Birkinshaw and Tom Booth, and Alex Farthing from the Cumberland Pencil Museum.

The winners were announced by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, at a special ceremony at The Pencil Museum in Keswick this morning.

The competition was designed to raise awareness of the Winter Warmth Fund which raises money for older Cumbrian’s who are struggling to keep warm. So far this winter, the fund has raised and distributed more than £43,500.

The wining schools are:

ALLERDALE Ashfield Junior School, High Street, Workington

BARROW Chapel Street Infant and Nursery, Dalton in Furness

CARLISLE Stanwix School, Church Street, Carlisle

EDEN Threlkeld Primary School, Threlkeld

SOUTH LAKELAND Heron Hill Primary School, Hayfell Avenue, Kendal

Each school received a certificate and were invited to choose Derwent Pencils up to the value of £200.

David Sharrock, Director and General Manager of The Cumberland Pencil Company, said: “We are delighted to support Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Fund by donating prizes for the schools competition. Raising awareness of the needs of the elderly during our cold Cumbrian winters will hopefully encourage more fundraising to help towards their ever-increasing fuel bills.”

Andy Beeforth, Director of Cumbria Community Foundation, explains the difference the Winter Warmth Fund has made: “So far this year we have raised and distributed £43,500, most of which has helped cold Cumbrian pensioners survive the worst of the winter. The appeal is still open for donations until the end of March.”

Bishop James said: “I was touched by the stories of some of the many hundreds of people who were helped by last year’s Winter Warmth Appeal.  Their bodies were warmed by other people’s generosity and so was my heart.  This year’s appeal has been equally successful.”

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Fund Appeal saves lives by reducing both fuel poverty and the number of people in Cumbria living in cold homes.

It does this by asking for donations from the community. This money is then given to those in extreme need. Some of the donations come from older people who get the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment, but feel they don’t need it as much as others.