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500 mile charity cycle challenge for Cumbria

Four intrepid cyclists will take on one of the UK’s toughest cycle challenges to raise money for Cumbria Community Foundation.

Dubbed Scotland’s Route 66, the North Coast 500 runs from Inverness, to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast, via the rugged north coast to John O’Groats, before heading down the east coast, completing the loop in Inverness.

L-R: Andy Beeforth, Richard Lancaster, Steve Aynsley and Simon Peet

Led by Richard Lancaster, head of the Penrith branch of Handelsbanken, the four cyclists aim to complete the journey in six days. Saddling up alongside Richard will be Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Community Foundation, Simon Peet, who up until recently owned Jim Peet (Agriculture) Limited, and Steve Aynsley, Director of Shot2Go.

The team have called themselves The Cumbrian Proclaimers and will cycle a minimum of 80 miles each day and ascend to heights greater than Mount Everest.

Andy Beeforth said: “This is by far the biggest physical challenge I’ve ever taken on. I’ve never ridden 80 miles in a day before, so the thought of doing that day after day for six days is very daunting. I’m hugely grateful to Richard, Simon and Steve for their support. The money raised will boost our grant making in support of some the most disadvantaged people in the county.”

Richard Lancaster said: “This is going to be a real challenge but when you think of the people and communities in Cumbria who will benefit from the money we are raising it makes it all very worthwhile. We really hope sponsors will get behind us to help us reach the target we have set. As a bank who works at the heart of communities throughout Cumbria, Handelsbanken is very proud to continue our support of Cumbria Community Foundation through the challenge of the North Coast 500.”

The four riders have set the ambitious target of raising £20,000 and are self-funding the trip. They have also received sponsorship in the form of reduced cost motorhome hire from GSKMotorhomes, and essential spares and a spare bike, provided by Wheelbase of Staveley.

All money raised will be used to make grants through the Foundation Grants Programme, which awards more than £150,000 each year and has supported activities such as Home to Work’s unemployment project, Carlisle Mencap’s sports development programme, South Lakeland Carers dementia support group, Shap Community CIO’s redevelopment, and support to victims of abuse through The Birchall Trust.

To sponsor the riders, visit:

To keep up to date with their challenge visit their Facebook page.

£55,000 awarded to West Cumbrian causes

Cumbria Community Foundation has awarded more than £55,000 to individuals and community projects across West Cumbria at their latest Grants Committee.

The West Cumbria Grants Panel approved 21 applications covering a wide range of activities, including an international Lego competition and a project helping to tackle social isolation in older people.

The ‘Ennerdale Engineers’

Friends of Ennerdale and Kinniside Primary School received £4,250 from the Live the Dream Fund to take their school Lego team to the Lego League International Open.

The First Lego League is a science and technology challenge aimed at 9-16 year olds who are tasked to solve real life problems with the help of a Lego robot.

The ‘Ennerdale Engineers’ were placed as runners up in the Regional Finals for North and West Cumbria on the 1st of February. This meant the team qualified for the National Finals in Bristol as only one of 40 schools in the UK and Ireland.

The National Finals took place on the 26th of February, where pupils fought off competition from secondary schools across the UK to win the second place trophy in the Robot Performance Award.

The small village school of Kinniside and Ennerdale will now have the opportunity to go even further, to the International Finals, which will be held in the UK for the first time.

David Moore, Head Teacher of the school, said: “As an extremely small, rurally isolated primary school, children have little exposure to cultural opportunities.

“This International Final will give them the chance to meet a huge variety of children from other countries throughout the world. Such an opportunity is unlikely to offer itself again in these children’s school life.”

Healthy Hopes group in Allerdale

Healthy Hopes Cumbria received £5,000 from the Older People’s Fund to start a weekly two-hour group for older adults to alleviate social isolation. The sessions will cover topics such as confidence and building self-esteem, mental health issues in later life and coping with bereavement.

Healthy Hopes offer free holistic workshops and support services across West Cumbria to promote improved emotional wellbeing and resilience. Older people who attended some of the organisation’s other workshops had expressed an interest in having a group for older adults who have similar issues and needs.

The sessions will be held in conjunction with Age UK at one of their premises in Copeland and will be held by a qualified Mental Health Nurse who specialises in dementia studies and a trained therapist.

Vivien Nicol, Director of Healthy Hopes Cumbria, said: “Older people with limited social contact are at an increased risk of death due to the emotional effects of social isolation.

“We are aware that for many older adults, their children have settled into other parts of the UK or abroad due to limited local employment opportunities, which brings about a lack of family support.

“Our health and wellbeing activities will help older people in the community to form friendships and improve both their physical and mental health.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “By supporting projects which help address the specific needs of communities, we can begin to bridge that gap, and ensure people have the best access to services.”

Applications for the next round of funding need to be submitted by Friday 12th May 2017 to be reviewed by the grants panel on Wednesday 7th June 2017. For more information or to apply for a grant, click here or contact the grants team on 01900 825760.

Allerdale eco projects benefit from Wind Farm Fund

Seven community organisations in Allerdale have been awarded a share of £68,000 from a fund that supports eco projects.

The funding comes from the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund, and supports a range of community groups helping to improve the local environment and also increase understanding of environmental issues.

Friends of Siddick Ponds

The fund was set up by energy company E.ON to benefit communities close to the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm and is administered by Cumbria Community Foundation. More than £400,000 has been given out in grants since 2009.

Friends of Siddick Ponds received £15,000 to continue enhancing the site behind Dunmail Park Shopping Centre in Workington. The money will be used to improve the conservation interest of the site such as reed bed management, installing nesting boxes and planting wildflower bulbs.

Grow West

West House received £10,000 to install solar panels at their ‘Grow West’ project; a 12 acre market garden centre based at Allerby. 30 adults with learning disabilities rely on ‘Grow West’ to be productive in the community, have a purposeful working week and learn personal and work skills.

Tim Morgan, E.ON Plant Manager, said: “The fund from E.ON provides assistance to voluntary or community groups in the area who are looking to use energy more sustainable or improve the environment. Our funding helps to provide a lasting benefit to the area.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The fund is of real value to the local community, supporting voluntary groups and charities and enabling residents to continue to build on their vibrant and thriving communities.”

Successful groups can expect to receive £1,000 – £15,000 funding. Applications for the next round of funding are open until 15th December 2017. To find out more about the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund click here or contact Annalee Holliday on 01900 82470 or email

£3.8 million available for community projects in Borders area

Charitable community groups and individuals in the Borders area are being encouraged to apply for financial support from a new community benefit fund.

Established by EDF Energy Renewables, the Beck Burn Windfarm Community Fund has £155,250 grant aid to distribute every year for the next twenty-five years.

Projects and people in the Cumbrian Parishes of Rockcliffe, Westlinton, Arthuret and Kirkandrews on Esk, along with the Scottish Community Councils of Springfield & Gretna Green, Gretna & Rigg, Kirkpatrick Fleming & District, and Canonbie & District are eligible to apply for funding.

The fund is being managed on behalf of EDF Energy Renewables by Cumbria Community Foundation, and will be split into three elements:

A large grants pot of £84,200 for grants between £1,000 and £20,000 (larger grants over multiple years will also be considered). The priority for this money is projects within a 5k radius of the wind farm, projects within a 10k radius may also apply but must show benefit to those within the 5k area.

£40,000 will be split between the eight local Parish/Community Councils each receiving £5k to spend within their Parish/Community Council boundary on small grants of up to £1,000 each (this covers Kirkandrews, Arthuret, Westlinton, Rockcliffe, Springfield & Gretna Green, Gretna & Rigg, Kirkpatrick & District and Canonbie & District)

20% of the fund, totalling £31,050, will be ring-fenced for Education and Training, we will be launching a bursary scheme in the area around the wind farm to help with costs of travel, equipment and training for students of all ages.

The fund is intended to support a wide range of activities with awards to community and voluntary organisations and projects which are community based or community led. Activities would include supporting biodiversity and habitat conservation, energy efficiency and sustainability, sports and recreation, health and wellbeing, children, young people and older people, culture and heritage.

The deadline for the first round of applications is 12th May 2017.

Nick Bradford, Head of Asset Management for EDF Energy Renewables said: “We want to see as many local people as possible benefiting from the fund and would encourage groups to apply for this money. Around each of our 32 wind farm sites across the UK, we see the difference it can make from heating church halls to providing new musical instruments to a brass band.

Nigel Pattison, Grants and Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Parish and Community Councils within the Beck Burn Wind Farm’s area of benefit, enabling vital community projects to be developed and local people to benefit enormously.”

For more information click here or by contact Nigel Pattison on 01900 825760.