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Pedal vs. Paddle – Which is quicker?

DSC_9181Two unlikely heroes have completed a mad challenge to answer the question: “From Keswick to Workington, which is quicker – to pedal or to paddle?”

The ridiculous race – designed to encourage people to sign up for this year’s Jennings Rivers Ride – has settled the question once and for all.

But who won? Was it cycling warrior Gary McKeating, Head of Stakeholder Engagement for Areva, who has proudly come last (or almost last) in every Jennings Rivers Ride to date? Or canoeing champion Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, who spends his holidays sea kayaking?

They came head to head at 7am, compared their chosen modes of transport, and headed west – Gary on a road route going over the many bridges destroyed in the 2009 floods and Andy going under them on the rivers that lead from the heart of the lakes to the sea.

Seaton Rugby ClubThe paddle distance was about 40km and the bike ride ?? …

Nature tried to stop Andy in his tracks with the wind blowing like crazy and forcing his canoe to go back up the river against the flow of the water!

The same wind caused a headwind for Gary, who used all his might to keep pedalling against the elements.

Word has it that Andy asked Gary to take ‘selfies’ at projects supported by Cumbria Community Foundation en-route and that this cheeky tactic meant both the pedaller and the paddler were in Workington by 2pm.

Andy Beeforth, reflected on his river journey, he said: “In this battle between paddle and pedal, two wheels definitely has an advantage over two paddle blades. At best, I travelled at 5mph, sometimes at mine 5mph, whereas Gary was able to average 10mph easily … that’s why I asked Gary to visit a couple of funded projects on his way to Workington.

Andy Beeforth paddling past the Jennings Brewery affected by the floods in 2009

“The river and the wildlife were beautiful. I was genuinely moved by the experience, I’ve been watching the water levels on the Environment Agency website and it shows the recent record highs, which were the 2009 flood levels. Paddling through the affected communities, observing them from the river and thinking about the power of water and devastation was really moving. To know the Community Foundation was able to help so many people in such a major way (from immediate relief of those affected, emotional and practical support and then re-building and flood prevention made me feel very proud). The issues some of our current grants address such as financial issues, mental health and emotional distress are the same as those faced by people in 2009, just the reason for them is different.

“I’m hugely grateful to Alan Ashby, my guide and safety person and Alan’s wife Bernie who acted as support crew. Gary and his wife Joanne were stars too (Joanne took the pics of Gary on the bridges whilst I paddled through the arches) – it was a really memorable thing to do.”

Gary McKeating, who is a keen supporter of Cumbria Community Foundation and willing partner in Andy’s mad challenges said: “Andy is a seasoned kayaker whilst I am a seasoned avoider of all forms of exercise, so the challenge was interesting. I enjoyed stopping off at the community groups to reflect on the great work they do. I decided the best way to keep fuelled for our race was with a nice cup of tea and carb-loading with cake at every opportunity, because that’s what athletes do don’t they? To be honest, I took my time and enjoyed the ride, I could have beaten him easily!!”

Allerdale Citizens AdviceCheryl Frost, Director of Rather be Cycling, and organiser of the Jennings Rivers Ride for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “What an original way Andy and Gary came up with to link together the themes of the Jennings Rivers Ride with one of the flooded water courses from the terrible 2009 floods. Whether on a bike or in a canoe it is an amazing journey. We are so looking forward to welcoming loads of people on their bikes on Sunday September 27 to enjoy their own magnificent journey and hopefully raise lots of money for Cumbria Community Foundation.”

Sunday 27 September 2015 will see the fourth annual Jennings Rivers Ride – a series of cycle rides created after the devastating floods in 2009. The four routes reveal some of the UK’s finest scenery and cycling terrain from the heart of the Lake District all the way out to the Irish Sea. The rides all start and finish in Keswick. It’s called the ‘Rivers Ride’ because sections of the routes follow the affected river courses and criss-cross over many of the bridges that were either destroyed and replaced, or were badly damaged during the floods.

The Jennings Rivers Ride is held to raise money for the charitable work of Cumbria Community Foundation. All the money raised will go directly into its grant making Foundation Grants Fund, supporting projects that provide much needed services at a grassroots level.

The Foundation is at the heart of community life. It makes grants to local charities and people in need. The grants help young people and older people, those living with disabilities and those recovering from illness.DSC_9065

The Jennings Rivers Ride is made possible by the generous support of the sponsors and the help of more than 80 volunteers.

The entry fee covers the cost of staging the event and raises a small amount for the charity – cyclists can help Cumbria Community Foundation by asking friends and family to sponsor them for the challenge and raise money for good causes across Cumbria.

Sign up to the Jennings Rivers Ride and don’t forget to add a Cumbria Community Foundation Fundraising Pack to your basket. Sign up here. 

The Start of a Journey

Day 1: 28th May 2015.  Weight: 19st 1lb.  Weather: Overcast, windy but a hint of sun

Yesterday I received an unexpected phone call.  “Hello is that Councillor Davis-Johnston?  It’s Glenys Kett here from Cumbria Community Foundation.”  My first official call as a newly elected councillor is from Cumbria Community Foundation, I wonder what they want!?  “Have you heard of the Rivers Ride 2015?  We were wondering whether you would like to take part?”

I am Adrian, I’m a 32 year old father of one with an arthritic spine, borderline obesity and a penchant for all things Bryson’s who tends to avoid organised torture events for charity.  I am also passionate about my community and have a great admiration of the work that Cumbria Community Foundation does.  My answer to Glenys’ question was an immediate “Yes of course” followed by a “how long is the bike ride?”  The answer; 35, 55 or 75 miles.

ADJNow I have many years ago done a long distance bike ride, but this was pretty flat, was over 3 days and I was probably about 2 stone lighter.  With all these considerations taken into account, I have decided to plumb for the 55 mile challenge and have also roped in some great support from my Dad, Paul, who is also going to do the challenge with me.  My new year’s resolution was to lose weight and get fit, and on the 1st January 2015 I was 20 stone and quickly lost two stone.  Since then I have put on another stone, so this challenge is a great way to refocus my efforts onto my overall aim.  Interestingly, the route of the Rivers Ride will take in most of my Allerdale Borough Council ward of Derwent Valley and I look forward to getting to know the roads intimately on my bike.  As you can see from the photo, when I was leafleting the ward in the election, the hills took it out of me, I hope wheeled transport will be a help!!

My primary motivation however is to support the work of Cumbria Community Foundation.   I can remember vividly how the Foundation has supported our county in times of hardship and need from the Foot and Mouth Crisis to the 2009 Cumbrian Floods which this bike ride commemorates, but for me it’s the day-to-day work of the Foundation that is the most inspiring, working with people of our county that need support, from young people to old people, from a variety of backgrounds.  The work the Foundation does is inspiring, it isn’t just a body that hands out money, it is an organisation that epitomises Cumbrian culture – we look after each other and we look out for each other.  I am proud to be a Cumbrian and I am proud to support the Foundation by putting in a little bit of work and getting my fat bum off the sofa and on the bike.  I hope people will be equally inspired to join in or to sponsor me at

After putting my name squarely in the frame I now have a bit of a plan to get myself motivated and get myself fundraising, but before all that there is one essential item of equipment I need – a bike!!

Wish me luck!

Charity Awards 2015 – We’ve been shortlisted

Cumbria Community Foundation has been shortlisted for a ‘Grantmaking and Funding’ accolade in The Charity Awards 2015.

The Charity Awards is the charity world’s most prestigious excellence recognition programme and Cumbria Community Foundation has been shortlisted for its Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme.


The programme is delivered on behalf of Cumbria County Council to support Cumbria’s large and growing population of older people and vulnerable adults.

The winner of the Grant Making and Funding Award and the other nine category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Outstanding Achievement Award, will be announced at a dinner on 18 June, at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster, London.

The black-tie evening will be hosted by world cup winning rugby star Will Greenwood, who will be joined by representatives of the shortlisted charities, alongside a ‘who’s who’of charity leaders and celebrities from the worlds of theatre, television, music and sport.

One in eight older people in Cumbria have remained independent and in control of their lives thanks to the support provided by one of the 33 different partner organisations working with Cumbria Community Foundation to deliver the Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme.

Neighbourhood Logo (2)The Charity Awards summed up the reasons Cumbria Community Foundation was shortlisted:

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme (NCIP) has delivered £1m in public sector savings and helped over 30,000 vulnerable adults and older people in Cumbria to maintain their independence.

By 2012, unprecedented pressure on resources and Cumbria County Council budget cuts were impacting on services. There was recognition that a new and innovative approach was needed in order to develop a sustainable solution. Contracting with sole delivery organisations was no longer the answer.

The Council needed an independent organisation to run an £860,000 per annum programme for an initial three years, targeted at adults at risk of losing their independence. With a proven track record in managing strategic grants programmes and the ability to convene partnerships and attract and secure additional resources, Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) was selected for the role. It facilitated a partnership of 33 voluntary sector delivery organisations but offered a single access point to beneficiaries.

By the end of the first year, one in eight of the county’s older residents had used NCIP services. Independent evaluation of NCIP by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University found that 95 per cent expressed satisfaction, with over 80 per cent very satisfied. The evaluation also concluded that NCIP “is contributing effectively to reducing and delaying the need for health and social care.” CCF says that the most positive lesson was the scale of benefits resulting from delivery partners working together, both for their clients and themselves.

Awards judge Danielle Walker Palmour described it as a “great example of working collaboratively with a whole range of people.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation said: “This is really important recognition for what we believe is a unique programme. Cumbria has one of the UK’s most ‘super aged’populations.

“The success of the programme comes from the partnership between more than 30 funded groups, all coordinated under one scheme and linked to Cumbria County Council Adult Social Care, and now Public Health, which is serving our older people and vulnerable adults very well.”

Richard Brown and Chris Davidson“Neighbourhood Care is unique because it combines some of the larger charities with wonderful grassroots groups in a seamless service. Cumbria County Council deserves a huge amount of recognition and praise for their decision to develop Neighbourhood Care Independence.”

Ian Stewart Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services at Cumbria County Council said: “This is great recognition from the sector for very important work that has taken place here in Cumbria.  I want to thank everyone involved, and I’m confident that the success in the Awards will be a springboard for further development.”

Tania Mason, group editor at Civil Society Media which organises The Charity Awards, congratulated  Cumbria Community Foundation on making the highly-coveted shortlist.

“We had an almost record number of entries this year – just four fewer than our all-time high in 2011 – and the standard was excellent, so Cumbria Community Foundation should be very proud to have made the shortlist,”she said.

“For 16 years The Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through. We wish Cumbria Community Foundation all the very best of luck on the night.”

Since April 2013, more than 37,000 older people have remained independent thanks to Cumbria’s Neighbourhood Independence Programme.

In Carlisle alone, 4,455 people have been helped by the eight partners (Brampton and Beyond Community Trust, Caritas Care, Carlisle Eden Mind, Croftlands Trust, Cumbria-DeafVision, Cumbria Gateway, Glenmore Trust and British Red Cross) who between them provide home from hospital, befriending, drop-in sessions for people with hearing loss and handyperson services.

Richard BrownHere’s an example of the difference it makes:

When 91 year old Richard Brown (right) had a “bit of a funny turn” last November he ended up in hospital for ten days. The former Engineering Services Manager for Carr’s had always been handy around the house, but when he came home he needed help to stay independent.

Richard and his wife Laura, 83, live in Carlisle. Their family home for the past 50 years is on two floors and, like many retired couples, they don’t want to move, so they keep adapting their home to meet their changing health needs.

Their sons have helped where they can, putting a stairlift in as Laura’s arthritis made getting up and down stairs too difficult.

The family bathroom has long had its bath taken out and replaced with a walk-in shower and this was the challenge too far for Richard when he got out of the Cumberland Infirmary.

“I was still unsteady on my feet and not very confident. I didn’t feel safe getting in the shower. That’s where Cumbria Gateway came in and Chris the handyman fitted a really strong shower rail and attached a seat to the wall, so I could carry on showering by myself.”

Cumbria Gateway Handyman - Chris DavidsonChris Davidson, works part-time for Cumbria Gateway, he has spent his life working in the building trade and although he was a bricklayer, he can plaster and turn his hand to almost any practical job in a house.

“I do little jobs, anything from gardening, to putting up curtain poles, to changing lightbulbs , putting shelves up or decorating. I find a lot of my customers are just like Mr Brown, they have a family home full of happy memories, they love their houses and they don’t want to leave so to be able to do a little job that makes a big difference in them staying independent is really satisfying.”

Cath Howard, Chief Operating Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said:

“Cumbria Gateway is very much a key partner, providing a handy person and support service across Carlisle and District. Without the support from staff and volunteers such as from Cumbria Gateway, many people would need to turn to statutory services for help. Making sure that gardens look tidy and repair jobs are completed by friendly and trustworthy staff enables people to stay living in their own home without worrying about all the small jobs they otherwise struggle to do.”

Cumbria Gateway is one of the 33 partner organisations providing a range of services to help keep older people independent.

The voluntary and community groups that make up the Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme provide:

  • handy people to help with minor DIY tasks like changing light bulbs, mowing lawns and shopping.
  • links to friendship groups through good neighbourhood schemes and telephone contact for those who are lonely or isolated.
  • encouraging people to join in with social groups within their community.
  • helping people set up their own support, such as finding and paying for equipment and support services.
  • hearing aid maintenance and support ‘drop ins.’
  • short-term help after a hospital stay.
  • support for carers.

If you know an older person who might need a little extra help please ring the helplines:
In Barrow, Carlisle, Eden and South Lakeland 0844 967 1885
In West Cumbria 08442 843843