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Brave the Big Sleep – One night in the cold can save lives

Cumbria Community Foundation is asking people to brave the cold and raise awareness of the plight of older people who lose their lives due to the effects of the plummeting temperatures every winter.

The Big Sleep out in Cathedral Quarry

The annual Big Sleep raises thousands of pounds for the Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal. It gives people a chance to experience what it is like to sleep without heat. It is a sponsored event so everyone that takes part collects funds, which will be used to keep older people warm and well.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said: “Older Cumbrians should not be dying because they can’t afford to keep themselves warm in winter, and we need to help change that.

“In 2017 the Winter Warmth Appeal raised almost £134,000. More than £24,000 of that came from Big Sleep fundraisers who spent a night under the stars in temperatures which dropped below zero during the night.

The Big Sleep out on Lake Windermere

“Every year, thanks to the warm generosity of individuals and businesses and those who brave the cold and take part in the Big Sleep, we are raising more money to help older people heat their homes. Please come and join us!”

Professor John Howarth, a GP and Deputy Chief Executive of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is supportive of the Winter Warmth Appeal. He said: “Simply keeping warm could save the lives of many people, who are mostly elderly or vulnerable.”

“There is a big role for neighbours, family and friends to play, to look after each other. It really is a community effort and the Winter Warmth Appeal helps address this issue.”

This year a team from Temple Heelis Solicitors in Kendal are taking part in the Big Sleep. They’ve chosen Cumbria Community Foundation as their charity of the year, and to help raise funds the staff will be joined by their families.

Shelley Savasi, Senior Probate Administrator, said: “The funds we raise will go towards keeping older Cumbrians warm and well. The team will experience a snapshot of what it is like to be exposed to winter temperatures, as do those who can’t afford to heat their homes.”

The Big Sleep is being held on Saturday 27th January 2018 on the shore of Lake Windermere. It costs £35 for adults and £5 for children – to enter visit: The entry fee includes a hot drink, evening meal, activities, and breakfast.

If you can’t join the Big Sleep on the night why not do your own? The 1st Wetheral Brownies will be camping out remotely in a cold barn near Brampton. The girls will be taken on a midnight hike round Talkin Tarn, watch a movie and have a camp fire. If that isn’t an option, you can still donate to the Winter Warmth Appeal: visit:

You can also send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’, writing ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.

Making a Difference – Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015

Two years after the devastating widespread flooding caused by Storm Desmond sees the publication of the report into the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal.

The report, titled Making a Difference- Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015, captures the horror of the damage caused by the flooding, it details how much money was raised and the difference the fund has made to people’s lives.

Throughout the document there are examples of what an amazing community response there was to the floods and how resilient people were to the challenges thrown at them.

In all, more than 5,500 households and 1,000 businesses were flooded, for some it was the third or fourth time they had seen their homes overwhelmed in a decade.

Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund was only a success because of the generosity of many donors, supporters and fundraisers who with Government match funding raised an incredible £10.3 million to help flood-affected communities.

Over £9.6 million has been awarded to more than 3,000 flood-affected households and 167 groups.

Making A Difference – The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015 details:

• Cumbria Community Foundation’s response to the 2015 floods as part of the countywide recovery effort.
• The difference the Fund made to flood-affected individuals, families, groups and communities across the county.
• The findings of the Fund’s independent evaluation.
• CCF’s future commitment to supporting communities in need and the creation of the Cumbria Disaster Fund.
• £7,232,112 was awarded to 3,157 families.
• £2,444,101 awarded to 167 community groups.

All of the Foundation’s work was done in partnership with other agencies as part of the countywide recovery process. More than 50 organisations and agencies worked together as part of a multi-agency Strategic Recovery Co-ordination Group, chaired by Cumbria County Council. The chair of the Cumbria Community Recovery Group, said: “CCF and the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund made a difference to the people of Cumbria when they most needed help and made a significant contribution to the countywide recovery efforts.”

CCF awarded £383,432 to 18 third sector organisations to provide advice and guidance to people affected by the floods – organisations like Citizens Advice, the Law Centre, Carlisle Flood Advice Centre, Sandylands Methodist Church’s Encouragement Cabin, Churches Together, Age UK and the British Red Cross.

A total of £1,247,989 helped 106 groups repair flood damaged facilities not covered by insurance, covered loss of income, helped them to deliver key services from temporary accommodation and also to undertake flood resilience measures.

The toll on people’s mental health and wellbeing was high too, the Fund gave £132,058 to 12 groups supporting emotional well-being across the county. Feedback suggests that stress and anxiety over the prospect of future flooding, particularly for older and more vulnerable people, is an ongoing issue.

And while we all hope that we won’t see flooding like it again, £225,096 has been awarded to 16 community response groups and two search and rescue organisations to help prepare communities for future flooding.

Another £350,536 has been given to 12 small “at risk” communities, enabling them to implement local flood resilience schemes. The schemes have been developed with the support of the Environment Agency and local councils.

An independent evaluation of the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund found that nine out of ten people agreed that they found out about the Flood Recovery Fund in good time, that communication during the grant process was good, that they were treated fairly, that their needs were understood and that responses from CCF were efficient or timely.

The vast majority of the 900 people who responded to the survey said that they were grateful for the help and that the process to get a grant was clear, quick and easy.

One respondent said: “Without the grant, I would have been homeless and housed in temporary accommodation unsuitable for my disability for months. CCF made me feel human.”

Another said: “It made all the difference, it helped me protect my home and kept me out of debt.”

One of the organisations said: “Without the support of the CCF grants, our community would still be struggling to recover from the effects of Storm Desmond. With the grants, we have recovered and are working on future resilience.”

Another said: “It has been transformational and has undoubtedly enabled us to open quickly after the flood.”

The report found that it is without doubt that the personal response offered by CCF to people who had experienced flooding made a significant difference to their recovery.

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal was extraordinary, it saw 35,000 donors, funders and fundraising groups, with the support of Government match funding, raise £10.3 million. Cumbria now has a Disaster Fund, created in 2016 to help individuals and families affected by smaller scale disasters. Sadly, it has already been needed due to flooding three times since then. Flooding on a much smaller scale geographically, but equally devastating for the families affected.

Click to view the Flood Fund Evaluation Group Survey Results
Click to view the Flood Fund Evaluation Household Survey Results
Click to view the Flood Fund Evaluation Report Summary