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Volunteer of the Year 2015

The winners of the West Cumbria Community Heroes Awards were announced last night at a celebration dinner.

Volunteer of the Year, Sandra McKeown with her award
Volunteer of the Year, Sandra McKeown

Cumbria Community Foundation are very pleased to congratulate Sandra McKeown for winning Volunteer of the Year 2015. The award recognises Sandra’s selfless commitment and dedication working with 1st Flimby Girls’ Brigade, a youth organisation that offers significant opportunities for girls and young women.

Under her leadership the Flimby Brigade have seen tremendous success. They have 27 members aged 4-14, some of whom have won national competitions. The exposure has helped to put Flimby on the map.

Judges at the awards said: “She is beyond being ‘just’ a volunteer in everything she does to make sure she adds more value to young people and her community.”

In August this year 1st Flimby Girls’ Brigade were selected to take part in the London Remembrance Parade to commemorate the victims of the First and Second World Wars. Many of the children are from disadvantaged backgrounds with unemployed and one parent families. They were awarded £500 from the Solway Fund in September to fund the trip.

Help for Barrow money cooperative

Barrow & District Credit Union
L-R Phil Collier, Stephanie Marks, John Swainson, Jana Ellis, Ann Thomson, Mark Semple, Dennis Laird

Barrow & District Credit Union (BDCU) is delighted that Barrow Community Trust has agreed to support the organisation by donating £5,000 to assist in delivering its marketing strategy.

BDCU presently has just short of 1,000 members having opened its doors to the public in February 2013. Having already assisted many local people who would ordinarily be financially excluded, BDCU has recently launched its flexi loan.

Flexi loans range from £2,000 to £7,500 (or perhaps even more), are repayable at 1% interest per month (an APR of just 12.7%) and are available to people who are in permanent employment. So far, BDCU has issued flexi loans to members to consolidate credit card debt in to a single, low-interest loan as well as giving loans to assist with moving house and even taking driving lessons.

BDCU Chairman, Dennis Laird, said: “The key is for us to improve our visibility; to get Barrow & District Credit Union ‘out there’ and to make more people aware of us and of what we do.

“Our flex loan is a fantastic new product and can really help to consolidate credit card debt into one single, low-interest rate loan that is more easily affordable. Alternatively, they could be used to buy a car or to book that well-earned holiday… or perhaps even for a new kitchen or bathroom.

“We are a very approachable organisation, so why not pop in to see us at our offices at 1-3 The Mall or visit our brand new website

“It is fantastic that Barrow Community Trust has given us this grant to help us to promote Barrow & District Credit Union – after all, it is your community, your money and your credit union.”

The photograph shows Barrow Mayor, Ann Thomson, handing over the cheque on behalf of Barrow Community Trust, to Dennis Laird, Chairman of Barrow & District Credit Union.

Trustees’ Week

West Cumbria Community Heroes

Cumbria Community Foundation is joining forces with Sellafield Ltd and CN Group to be part of the West Cumbria Community Heroes Awards this November. The charity is sponsoring the Volunteer of the Year Award and hopes to find lots of worthy winners.

The Foundation is backing the award because it invests in local communities by awarding grants to charitable groups who are supported by many volunteers who give endless hours of time making Cumbria a better place to live and work.

This week coincides with Trustees’ Week 2015, which celebrates the fantastic work of existing trustees and aims to increase awareness and understanding of the trustee role.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the Foundation said: “It is very easy to value and recognise people volunteering in front-line or even operational roles. The far less glamorous work put in by the members of boards, committees, and governing bodies, though, is more easily overlooked – and yet it is these people who voluntarily accept all responsibility and liability – especially when things go wrong. We want to shine a light on these people who contribute so much time and effort into the county’s voluntary sector.”

Willie Slavin
Willie Slavin

Willie Slavin from Whitehaven is a trustee of the Foundation and at the Howgill Family Centre. He says: “As a trustee you get to see the whole working machine, top down, and play a part in how it goes forward to achieve its aims. It’s a really empowering thing, and in most cases anyone can do it.”

Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference. For more information visit the Trustees’ Week website.