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Financial support available to flood-affected communities

Cumbria Community Foundation is encouraging people to apply for financial assistance after flooding hit homes again across the county.

The Cumbria Disaster Fund was set up with an initial donation of £50,000 from the charity’s own funds to ensure immediate funding is available to anyone who needs help following a disaster.

The fund will initially provide support for immediate needs such as alternative accommodation costs, cleaning up, emergency repairs, clothing, food and drink, drying out and basic furniture. Priority will be given to uninsured, low income households.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Sadly, our county has seen multiple major flooding incidents in the last ten years. It is devastating to see the damage done yet again to our community over the last few days.

“We don’t yet know the full scale of the need, but we know that the flooding will cause significant financial hardship and emotional distress. The disaster isn’t over when the floodwaters recede, for many this will just be the start of a really tough time.

“The trustees committed £50,000 to a response and recovery fund for the region. At this stage, grants will be awarded to provide clean-up materials, household items and furniture to ensure that everyone has the basics needed to get their lives back up and running but that will be just the start, there is going to be a lot of ongoing need.”

The Foundation is aware that the fund can only provide a limited level of support to uninsured households. If anyone would like to donate to the Cumbria Disaster Fund, visit: or call 01900 825760 during office hours.

To apply for the fund visit the Cumbria Disaster Fund page or speak to the grants team on 01900 825760.

The Foundation has previously raised almost £14 million following widespread flooding in 2005, 2009 and 2015, all of which has gone back into rebuilding the county.

£90,000 awarded to West Cumbrian causes

Local causes across West Cumbria have been awarded around £90,000 thanks to funds administered by Cumbria Community Foundation.

21 community groups and 19 young people have received a share of the funds awarded at the recent grants panel. The money will support a wide range of projects including theatre workshops for children, advice for people with disabilities, improvements to community facilities and travel costs associated to school trips via the Mary Grave Trust.

Some of the funds that have supported the projects include the Broughton Moor Wind Farm Fund, the Quarry Hill Grassroots Fund and the Live the Dream Fund.

More than a hundred carers will be offered the support they need thanks to £3,000 awarded to the West Cumbria Carers. The grant from the Older Peoples Fund means that staff at the Carers Clinic, based at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, can continue to provide emotional and practical support to carers of those who have been admitted to hospital. The clinic will also help carers take care of themselves, making sure they maintain their own mental and physical wellbeing, and providing them with an essential support network.

Clare Edwards, Project and Funding Development Manager, West Cumbria Carers said: ‘This grant will enable us to continue to run a much needed support service for carers at West Cumberland Hospital. Carers need lots of support when their loved ones get close to discharge from hospital. We help carers to understand their rights, to get their voice heard and provide them with time and space to talk about their own concerns about the discharge. Providing support at this time means carers can build a support network which can help to prevent their loved one being admitted again.’

Children in West Cumbria are growing in confidence and learning new socials skills with the help of speech and drama. Cumbria Theatre Trust received £4,000 from the Lamont Pridmore Grassroots Fund and Solway Fund to provide 20 workshops to local schools including Northside Primary School, Victoria Junior School and St. Herbert’s Church of England Primary and Nursery School. By exploring the world of The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and attending the performance this Christmas at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, the children will improve their reading and writing skills and gain confidence through participating in group drama activities. 

Cath Gaskell, a teacher at St. Herbert’s Church of England Primary and Nursery School said: “We have seen children grow and blossom as they become absorbed by the magic of theatre.”

James Cobbold, Administrative Director, Theatre by the Lake said: “We are committed to enabling children and young people to experience and engage with the arts, and particularly live theatre.  The funding we have received through Cumbria Community Foundation will enable us to broaden the impact and reach of our workshop activities with schools across North and West Cumbria in response to our Christmas production, The Secret Garden.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at the Foundation, said: “Our grants are vital in helping people in West Cumbria, and we are ever grateful for the continued support of all our fundholders.”

The closing date for the next round of applications is Friday 15th December 2017 to be reviewed by the panel on Wednesday 10th January 2018. For more information or to apply see out grants page or contact the grants team on 01900 825760.

Annual Winter Warmth Appeal launched with emotive image

THREE hundred pairs of slippers, one for each life sadly lost to the winter cold.

This image, created to launch Cumbria Community Foundation’s annual Winter Warmth Appeal, has graphically brought home the harsh reality of a cold winter and fuel poverty in the county.

Sitting alongside Surprise View and overlooking Derwentwater, near Keswick, the juxtaposition of the beautiful backdrop and the significance of the foreground, once again illustrates that Cumbria is a county of contrasts.

The charity’s chief executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “Every year we appeal to the public to give money to help keep our older neighbours warm and safe in the winter months. We know that, on average, in a bad winter an extra 300 people will lose their lives to the effects of the plummeting temperatures. In our worst winters, this figure has risen to more than 500. We know for every one degree drop in temperature, the mortality rate increases, even in relatively mild every winters.

“It’s easy to become complacent about the numbers and not think about what they mean. Our photo illustrates that each one of those older people matters, they are someone’s mum or dad, gran or grandad, brother or sister, husband or wife. Bringing the slippers together for this photo made me stop in my tracks, it made me realise just how many people we lose unnecessarily.

“More than 120,000 Cumbrians receive the Winter Fuel Payment and to many it’s a lifeline but for those that don’t need it we can pass the money on to someone who is choosing between heating and eating this winter. Maybe we can help keep some of those slippers in front of a warm fire, where they should be.”

Launched in 2010, the Winter Warmth Appeal has raised £630,000 to help thousands of older people who are in danger of becoming ill or even dying because of the cold. It literally saves lives.

We spoke to some of the people we helped to keep warm last winter:

• A couple in the South Lakeland area who were struggling to keep their gas and electric meters topped up and out of the ‘emergency’ zone. The 60 year old husband is in a wheelchair after spinal surgery and his 55 year old wife suffers from poor health. He said: “We were able to split the Winter Warmth grant between our electricity and gas meters and that meant we could keep the heating on during the day without worrying about it. We’re very careful with the heating and our house isn’t energy efficient – we lose a lot of heat through the roof because there’s no insulation between the house and the old outhouse and although the windows are double glazed, the units are not well sealed so there are draughts between the window and the wall. My back problems mean I spend I lot of time lying down and I get cold very quickly. I’d like to be more mobile so I could walk about and keep warm in the winter, but now we are stuck in the house more than we’d like to be.”

• A couple in the Barrow area who first heard about the Winter Warmth grants when their granddaughter took part in The Big Sleep, which helps to raise money for the appeal. The 81 year old woman lives with her 82 year old husband, she said: “The Winter Warmth grant meant we could replace a broken storage heater last year. It cost £1700 just for the one heater, but it is much more efficient than the old one and doesn’t cost as much to run. Our electricity bills are so high around Christmas time, getting this grant means it isn’t such a worry.”

• In West Cumbria, a 74 year old man described the grant as meaning he didn’t have to wear his overcoat in the house to keep warm, he said: “I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and asbestosis and if the temperature drops I can’t breathe properly and I can’t talk. If we can keep the heating on, I can breathe and talk normally. Last winter our boiler was condemned and we had no heating from the end of November to the beginning of February. We got a loan of an electric fan heater and bought some electric blankets to try to keep warm. The fan heater kept the sitting room warm but the rest of the house was freezing. We have an electric shower, so we could use that, but we had to boil the kettle to wash up. The switch which makes the spark is broken on the gas fire and I’ve been told I shouldn’t use anything else to light the fire, so we have to do without that. Being pensioners, we can’t just put the heating on when we want. This grant means we can have it on more often though and we’re very grateful for that.”

Cumbria Community Foundation collects generous donations and shares them with vulnerable older people who struggle to heat their homes, so they can stay warm and healthy during winter. There are different ways to donate to help older people in Cumbria.

How to donate:

Online: Please visit our BT MyDonate page to make a contribution.

Online donations made between midday 28th November until midday on 5th December will be doubled as part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017

Send a cheque: Please make cheques payable to Cumbria Community Foundation and write ‘Winter Warmth Fund’ on the back. Send cheques to our office; Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, CA13 0PN.

Phone: Donate via credit/debit card over the phone by calling 01900 825760. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm.

If you are a tax payer, please also send a Gift Aid Declaration.

New Trustees join Cumbria charity board

Cumbria Community Foundation recently welcomed two new members to its board of trustees.

Nicholas Coulson and Jim Johnson became newly elected trustees in October and joined the board made up of 17 other professionals, including Chairman David Beeby, who also Chairs Cumbria CBI, Vice Chair and Company Secretary Tim Cartmell, and Main Grants Committee Chair, Jane Humphries.

Cumbria Community Foundation connect people who care with causes that matter, having distributed more than £37 million in grants on behalf of its fundholders since 1999.

Nicolas Coulson is retired having spent nearly thirty years working in international financial markets. After retiring from the City, Nicholas spent six years living and working in Hong Kong, where he ran his own business. He and his wife 

Jim Johnson & Nicholas Coulson now life in Cumbria full time.

Nicholas said: “I have been aware of the work done by CCF in both highlighting and alleviating the deprivation behind the picture-postcard landscapes in Cumbria for many years. I was particularly impressed by the Foundation’s rapid, efficient and hands-on response to Storm Desmond and therefore when the opportunity came up to become a Trustee and do more first-hand to help the Foundation’s excellent work, I jumped at it.”

Jim Johnson is a life-long resident of Cumbria. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant he followed a challenging senior managerial career in professional, industrial and educational environments, and leading to specialisation in business recovery. He currently volunteers as a Trustee of Carlisle Diocesan Board of Finance, Chair of Parish Council and Churchwarden.

Jim said: “My wife and I established a Fund with the Foundation a couple of years ago, because we wanted to ensure that any charitable giving we made would be effective, efficiently administered and support mainly local needs. CCF fulfils all those objectives, as I have seen first-hand since joining the grants panel and through visiting community projects to witness the benefits of CCF’s funded support.

“When I was asked this year to join the Board of Trustees, I was delighted to accept, and consider it to be an honour to have the chance to add value to the governance of such an excellent organisation”.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We are delighted to formally welcome Nicholas and Jim to the board. We are always looking for people whose skills and expertise will compliment those of our existing Trustees, as we continue to tackle disadvantage across the county.”

Trustees’ Week, 13 to 17 November, 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