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In safe hands

A group of women whose lives have been transformed by learning the art of manicures and pedicures are now lifting other women out of despair.

They’ve all successfully completed a course to become nail technicians in a purpose-built salon at the Gateway 4 Women centre in Carlisle and are now mentoring the next intake of students.

Gateway 4 Women is a subsidiary of Cumbria Gateway, which was set up in 2011 to address issues around homelessness, substance misuse, mental illness and domestic abuse.  It offers accommodation, structured programmes, drop-in breakfast clubs, skills training and work experience opportunities plus practical and emotional support to help vulnerable people recover and develop a positive healthy future in the community.

Cumbria Gateway received its first grant of £2,500 in 2011 to help towards equipment and furnishings of 4 flats. Since then, it has received more than £107,000 in grants. Grants have helped towards a breakfast club for homeless people. The breakfast club’s aim, with the help of peer mentors,  is to reach out and inspire those that might be considering a new way of life. It has on average 26 regular attendees. Other projects supported included a handy person scheme and a peer led support service to support vulnerable people across the area to access much needed help and support.

In 2017 it opened a new women’s only centre, Gateway 4 Women, to provide vital services that were not already available in north Cumbria, and has received more than £52,000 in grants. Based in Denton Holme, the centre is an educational and therapeutic one-stop shop for vulnerable women in Cumbria. It supports women who have been the victim of domestic violence, or who are undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes, those suffering with mental health issues and other vulnerable groups.


The beauty salon is open to the public and the accredited Nail Technician Course runs from there. Last year, the funding enabled 12 women to study the nine-month course and has given them the confidence to rebuild their lives. Some have gone on to use their qualification and skills to set up their own business or to work within the centre’s in-house salon.

Nicole started at Gateway 4 Women as a client accessing the support, she said: “After building up my confidence and self-esteem by participating in the course, I started to volunteer at the centre. That led me to become a full-time member of staff, helping to run the salon and mentoring clients.”

Denise attended the course and now volunteers in the salon at the centre, she said: “This was a new start for me, learning something new. It has given me back my confidence and a chance to make new friends and a new qualification. To then go on and be able to volunteer at the salon has been amazing. Here I can gain experience in a salon environment and also make my clients feel better about themselves.”

Angela participated on the course last year, as a mentor. She said: “Personally, I really enjoyed it and it has helped my confidence in my supporting abilities. I have enjoyed working with the ladies on the course and helping them to achieve their goals.”

Emma, who also completed the course in 2018, said: “This was an opportunity to work in a safe environment and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about nails, hands and feet. It has also helped me massively with my confidence and self-esteem and to make new friends.”

The course started in January and is fully subscribed. Another 12 women will have the opportunity to learn new skills and build their confidence while working with previous students who now volunteer as mentors.

The centre wouldn’t survive without grant funding and motivated volunteers who get together and make things happen.

£28,265 Funding Boost for Barrow Community Groups

Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has granted a total of £28,265 to support the ongoing work of four projects in Barrow in Furness: Women’s Community Matters, Drop Zone Youth Projects, Marvellous Holiday Club and Love Barrow Families. Each received grants enabling them to deliver projects which directly support more than 350 people and benefit the wider community.

Women’s Community Matters has been awarded £12,000 to employ a newly qualified social worker to pilot a six month project #ibelieveyou, aimed at improving access to and availability of domestic abuse support services.

Rebecca Rawlings, Senior Officer – Women’s Community Matters said “The grant has made a huge difference to the support we are able to offer victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We want to send a heartfelt thank you to the funders. In the first 3 months the project has already supported 54 women and their children.”

Drop Zone Youth Project receives £5,451 to employ staff to deliver a healthy eating project in their four youth clubs.

Marvellous Holiday Club now has funding of £7,000 to employ two qualified teachers during the school holidays for the rest of this academic year.

Love Barrow Families was awarded £3,814 towards the installation of a new kitchen.

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing, Barrow Borough Council said:” It is a tremendous boost to have four of our community projects supported by these grants. By creating new employment we create opportunity. It is no secret Barrow in Furness is sadly ranked amongst the most disadvantaged towns in the country. As a borough council we are committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities.  These projects are based in some of our most deprived areas; only by actively supporting people to aspire to more can we inspire longer term positive change for individuals and those communities.  Through this funding Cumbria Housing Partners really is adding value to the communities they work in and creating better futures.”

Cumbria Housing Partners is the local procurement group for social housing landlords in Cumbria. The Cumbria Housing Partners Fund is administered by Cumbria Community Foundation.

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners added: “ The funding these valued and vital projects have been awarded clearly show how the savings we make for our member landlords in buying materials, and contractors, or for repair and maintenance work on their homes is being reinvested to improve the lives of people living in our communities.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said “Over the past year, the Cumbria Housing Partners Fund has invested almost £100,000 across the county to individuals, and community and voluntary organisations. The money has provided training opportunities and supported projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education, provided advice and guidance, supported and engaged people in their local community, and improved community facilities.”

For more information about Cumbria Housing Partners contact:  

Healthy Eating Project





Andy Beeforth spends a night suspended above the Borrowdale Valley

A charity worker set out to spend a night suspended hundreds of feet above ground to highlight the plight of older people who struggle to heat their homes in winter.

Andy Beeforth, chief executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, settled down for the night on a narrow portaledge above the valley.

His adventure aimed to encourage people to join him for The Big Sleep on March 9, which will see hundreds of people camp out on the shore of Windermere to raise money for the foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.

Despite lying still, a twist in the platform forced Andy to make a late-night retreat and climb up the rock face in the dark to complete his adventure under the stars at Surprise View near Keswick.

His adventure was supported by Brampton climber Jim Fotheringham, with permission from the National Trust.

The Big Sleep raises awareness and money for Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal – a grant-making fund which helps to keep older people warm every winter.

Mr Beeforth said: “Every year I have my own little mini challenge before the Big Sleep. I’ve slept out on the top of mountains, tried sleeping in a bed on a lake, had a nap in a bed in a cave and this was the most terrifying.

“There’s a serious reason for doing it. In a bad winter 300 older people die due to the effects of the cold weather in Cumbria. Our Winter Warmth appeal saves lives. I will do almost anything to raise awareness of the amazing difference people’s fundraising can make.”

For more information about The Big Sleep, or to donate to the appeal, visit

High Sheriff joins charity sleepout

Simon Berry, High Sheriff of Cumbria is gearing up to bed down under the stars alongside other campers at the annual Big Sleep next month to raise money for older people this winter.

Organised by Cumbria Community Foundation, the annual Big Sleep takes place on Saturday 9th March opposite the Low Wood Bay Hotel on the shore of Lake Windermere. The event aims to raise awareness of the plight of older people who struggle to heat their homes during the cold winter months.

Simon, who is also Chairman and Managing Director of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, said: “This years Big Sleep is doubly special for me in 2019. We all at the Low Wood Bay Resort are delighted to host the event again and as the current High Sheriff I will be sleeping out myself, helping to raise money and awareness of Community Foundations Winter Warmth Appeal. Please do sign up and come and join me and all the “Big and Little Sleepers” on the 9th of March. It is always a fun night.”

People taking part are encouraged to get sponsorship for braving the cold winter weather overnight. All money raised supports the Winter Warmth Appeal – a pot of money distributed to older, vulnerable Cumbrians via Age UK to help pay towards heating bills. Since its launch the Big Sleep has raised more than £100,000 for the Appeal, which benefits around 1,000 older people each year.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at the Foundation, said: “The Big Sleep is by far the biggest fundraiser for the Winter Warmth Appeal. Bad winters have seen as many as 460 excess winter deaths in the county. It will be cold but it’s always a great atmosphere and I hope people are encouraged to enter and raise what they can for this very important cause.”

People can sign up to take part in the Big Sleep by visiting: It costs £35 for adults and £5 for children. The entry fee covers refreshments, an evening meal, activities and breakfast.

If you can’t make it to Windermere, you are more than welcome to organise your own Big Sleep at home. For more information visit:

If you can’t join the Big Sleep but would like to donate to the Winter Warmth Appeal, visit:

Or you can send a cheque to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Send it to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.