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Millom Network Centre receives £9,000 for new employability project

Millom Network Centre has been awarded a £9,000 grant by Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, managed by the Foundation, to support a new employability project ‘Opening New Doors’. The programme aims to help people in South Copeland open doors to new opportunities and find success in their lives.

Carol Pugh, Work and Skills Officer left with student Pauline (L to R)

Millom Network Centre offers a variety of activities to support local people improve their life chances. It provides free, one to one support to help people access the training and qualifications they need to find voluntary or paid employment. In addition to key subjects such as English, Mathematics and Science it can help people access practical skills training in construction and horticulture.  It also offers support to overcome personal hurdles which may be barriers to work, such as improving social skills, CV writing, job searches and interview techniques.

Centre Manager, Paul Stewart, said “Achieving success in life is a different measure for everyone. ‘Opening New Doors’ aims to support people overcome their personal barriers to success by offering learning opportunities which not only increase their employability but importantly help to improve their self-esteem.

“One of our participants, Pauline, has just completed an online course which has increased her personal confidence and digital skills; she said: “Thanks to the Opening New Doors programme and passing my recent qualification, I really feel on top of the world!”

“By helping people to grow in confidence they are better able to deal with the challenges they face in day to day life, raise their personal aspirations and become valued members of the community.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners, said:  “We are delighted to support this project. People living in rural communities, like Millom, can experience additional barriers to employment including access to training and employment opportunities due to their location.  By offering local training solutions Millom Network Centre provides a vital link to the future success of individuals and the whole community.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Millom is rurally isolated with residents having to travel 45 minutes to the nearest large towns. It also has higher unemployment than the national average but with the injection of funding, Millom Network Centre is working hard to encourage enterprise and improve life-long training provision.”

Over the past year Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, has provided grants to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities.

For more information about the centre’s services contact Carol Pugh, Team Officer, on 01229 719650.

Funding available for land-based qualifications

Applications are being encouraged from students studying for qualifications in the farming, forestry and horticulture industry.

The Swales Trust, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, offers grants of up to £1,000 towards the cost of land-based qualifications and the funding can be used to purchase study materials, specialist equipment or towards travel costs.

Priority will be given to students studying in Cumbria but is also available to people who live in Cumbria but are studying outside the county.

Carol Douglas,  48, from Sedbergh in South Lakeland, received £250 towards the cost of a Woodland Ecology Course at the Green Wood Centre near Telford.

Working part-time at the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and a parent of two teenage children, Carol was unable to afford all the costs involved in attending courses to further her professional development within the forestry industry. Ineligible for funding for a Foundation Degree in Forestry, she decided short courses were another way to get the skills and experience she needed.

Carol said, “I have gained a breadth of knowledge that will be useful in my workplace. This has given me greater confidence in my role as Woodland Officer at the Millennium Trust. The grant gave me the motivation to look into available woodland courses and encouraged my employer to support me in this process. It has also spurred me very much into wanting to learn more.”

Ellen Clements, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “As Cumbria is such a rural county it is so important that we invest in the future of its farmers, foresters and horticulturalists. The Swales Trust aims to level the educational playing field and support people of all ages who are looking to pursue land-based qualifications but need a bit of money to help them along the way.”

The closing date for applications is 27th July 2018 to be reviewed by the panel on 28th August 2018. To apply visit or for more information contact Ellen Clements on 01900 825760 or email

Keeping an “Open Mind” towards good mental health

In Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 it has been announced that a mental health charity based in West Cumbria has been granted £7,000 towards the costs of a new three year project, Open Mind. The grant was made from Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation to Mind in West Cumbria, a registered charity which exists to promote good mental health and wellbeing for people in Allerdale and Copeland.  It works in collaboration with other agencies and local partners, to deliver holistic and bespoke services to support adults with experience of mental distress and learning disabilities.

“Open Mind” will support people living with mental health issues to overcome some of the barriers which stop them getting into employment. By offering training in personal social skills and basic education, alongside other therapeutic support, the holistic project aims to increase employability – enabling members to reach their potential and fulfil their aspirations.

Dr Brian Campbell, Chairman of Mind in West Cumbria says: “Many of our members are relatively young, presently unemployable but with a large part of life ahead of them. Some are in need of basic, social, literacy and numeracy skills as a result of their schooling being disrupted due to mental health issues. The grant will enable us to provide a series of weekly courses relevant to our member’s needs, from basic skills through to accessing higher and further education. This will complement other one to one work we are doing to support them.

“Mental health issues are common, one in four are likely to suffer from diagnosable mental health problems. Anyone, at any stage or age may experience poor mental health causing them to “drop out” of their lives temporarily or for a longer term. Many people with ongoing mental health issues can, and do, learn to manage their symptoms and have fulfilling lives as vital members of their communities, professionally and personally.

“Through this project and our other work we want to encourage personal development, to help them rekindle their ambitions and reach beyond the horizons which seem limited due to illness, and on to a brighter space where they can thrive as individuals.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners, said: “Supporting projects which help local people into employment is the key aim of the Cumbria Housing Partners Fund. This project offers an opportunity for people whose aspirations have been curtailed as a result of mental health issues to overcome barriers to employment and we are proud to be able to fund it.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, added: “Mental health issues can affect people from all walks of life. The Foundation supports local projects that provide a lifeline for people with nowhere else to turn, whether they are recovering from trauma, addiction or mental breakdown, or coping daily with stress, depression, anxiety or loneliness. This funding comes at a critical time, demand for funding support in this area is set to grow as statutory mental health services continue to be affected by cuts and are stretched to capacity.”

Cumbria Housing Partners is the only local procurement group for social housing landlords in Cumbria. We help our member landlords save time and money by buying materials and contractors for repair and maintenance work on their homes. By working together and using our combined buying power, we make savings for our members that can be reinvested to improve the lives and futures of people living in our communities.

Over the past year Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has provided grants to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities.

For more information on the Cumbria Housing Partners Fund click here.