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New report shows businesses how to help West Cumbrians

Cumbria Community Foundation is shining a light on issues in the community to help guide businesses that wish to invest in improving lives in West Cumbria.

The document, called West Cumbria Opportunities and Challenges, provides an accessible, evidence-based picture of need across West Cumbria with examples of projects that improve the lives of residents.

Cumbria Community Foundation was commissioned to write the report for Sellafield to highlight the opportunities and areas of economic and social need in West Cumbria.

Some of the issues highlighted in the report include:

  • Childhood obesity – one in ten children are starting school overweight
  •  Adult obesity – two thirds of people in both Allerdale and Copeland are overweight.
  • Deprivation – one in seven households are living on less than £10,000 a year.
  • Education – one in four adults have no qualifications.
  •  Schools – half of all secondary schools are performing below national average.

The document isn’t all doom and gloom. It celebrates everything that west Cumbria has to offer, like:

  • Being the global Centre of Nuclear Excellence.
  • Being the home of innovative world leading businesses (M-Sport, Iggesund, Innovia).
  • Having low crime – it’s one of the safest places to live in the UK.
  • Some outstanding schools.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Sellafield approached us to write this independent report after seeing the quality of the research we presented in our countywide document ‘Cumbria Revealed – a County of Contrasts’ in 2017. I hope this new report will help people and organisations who want to devise programmes or create activities to tackle the needs of those living in west Cumbria.

“We’re celebrating our twentieth anniversary as a charity and we know that the solutions to the issues lie within the people and organisations already in these communities. What we need is investment in the areas identified to create real and lasting change in the areas we’ve highlighted.

“West Cumbria is an area of contrasts where a high-wage technology-based economy is contrasted with high levels of youth unemployment and some shockingly poor levels of health and wellbeing. Some the key issues are skills shortages, access to jobs and services, low aspirations, poverty, health and wellbeing, social isolation and obesity.”

The evidence used in the report has been drawn from different sources and presented under key themes:

Growing Up, Living and Working, Ageing, Housing and Homelessness, Fuel Poverty, Debt, Transport and Access to Services, Healthy Living, Safe Communities, Strong Communities.

It looks to the future and explains how businesses can get involved. Sellafield Ltd published its Social Impact Strategy last year and will measure its success by using the National Themes Outcomes Measurements Framework. The Social Impact Strategy says it wants to:

  • Improve access to sustainable incomes by increasing skills, knowledge aspirations and access to opportunities.
  • Enable resilient economies by growing the local economy and securing new opportunities.
  • Build thriving communities that create self-reliance and address community needs.
  • Create effective stakeholder and partnership working for collective impact.

Gary McKeating, Head of Community and Development at Sellafield Ltd said: “The new Sellafield Social Impact strategy illustrates a significant shift in thinking. Sellafield has always recognised the close interdependency between our business and the local community and as we continue to make Sellafield safer, sooner, we are working to make sure that our local community, the UK as a whole and the nuclear sector receives the maximum value from the £2billion of taxpayers’ money spent at Sellafield every year.

“As a world class business, dealing with some of the most complex scientific and engineering challenges on the planet, we want our activities to benefit as many people and businesses as possible, but this isn’t just an issue for Sellafield Ltd, it’s for all of those companies in our supply chain as well.

“There’s a lot to be done, but by working collectively, we can address the issues raised in the report, and the entire community can succeed. Look at how the investments from Sellafield Ltd and the NDA leveraged in excess of £30m for the new Campus Whitehaven. This represents the biggest educational investment in Whitehaven for over half a century and will address some of the issues highlighted in the report. This is an illustration of the kind of social impact we should all be striving to achieve.”

A copy of the report is available on the Foundation’s website or for a hard copy or call 01900 825760.

CCF celebrates 20 years of giving with exhibition and book

“GIVING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD” is the title of Cumbria Community Foundation’s 20th anniversary year after two decades of life-changing work in the county.

It is also the title of its new book and as the title suggests, it’s not just a look back at the amazing things the charity has achieved, but a look ahead to many more years of connecting people who care with causes that matter.

It will be launched this week at a special event on Thursday 9th May at Rheged, near Penrith, along with an exhibition of 20 photographs that appear in the book.

Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “I have led Cumbria Community Foundation since day one and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved. From responding to disasters like Foot and Mouth and the three devastating floods to the little things we make happen every single day.

“It’s quite humbling to see this selection of photographs together in a book and to read the stories about truly inspiring Cumbrians. We are really fortunate as a charity that we have generous donors who set up funds, enthusiastic supporters who have dreams of a better Cumbria and go about making it happen, and of course thousands of people whose lives have changed in some way by either giving or receiving money.

“I am hoping that we can mark this momentous year by raising £250,000 for the Cumbria Fund 20th Anniversary Appeal – we’ve banked almost £30,000 – and I am confident that with a whole host of fundraising events planned by our supporters, we will achieve this target. We’re always grateful for help and anyone who wishes to take on a challenge to raise a bit of that total would be most welcome.”

The 94-page book is a celebration of everything the charity stands for, which is summed up in a specially commissioned poem by Barrow poet Kim Moore. She will read her piece, which is published in the book, at the launch event.

Broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg has written an introduction to the book. He said: “Wherever you look, the people of Cumbria are helping the people of Cumbria, and friends of Cumbria, far and wide, are sending in welcome and moving contributions. It’s heartwarming, it’s effective, and in my view, it’s the only way forward to keep our unique society together and to give people the life chances we all want them to have.”

It was the vision of Cumbrians like John Fryer-Spedding who decided to take action to make the difference he wanted to see in the county. He gathered 20 like-minded philanthropists and started working tirelessly to see Cumbria Community Foundation born. He said he was inspired by the Queen’s Christmas broadcast in 1997, where she said: ‘I pray that we, the more fortunate ones, can unite and lend a helping hand wherever it is needed and not pass by on the other side.’ The founding group wanted to build a professionally managed endowment fund of £3m in four years. It went much better than that – since 1999 it has given out £44 million in grant aid. He said: “The Foundation has always aimed to back every corner of the county and every type of eligible need. Through its excellent grant-making it has steadily built a growing number of fundholders and supporters. We feel a long way from the starting line now.”

Copies of the book are available for a donation from Cumbria Community Foundation. All the money from the sale of Giving Back, Looking Forward will go to the Cumbria Fund 20th Anniversary Appeal.

Working life at Cumbria Community Foundation

Name: Rebecca Delin

Job title: Media and Content Officer

Employer: Cumbria Community Foundation

Where are you from? Whitehaven

Where do you live now? Whitehaven

Where do you work? I am very lucky to be based at Dovenby Hall in Cumbria Community Foundation’s offices, situated in beautiful grounds – I have a gorgeous view out of my office window.

How long have you done this job? Part-time since November 2018 and it’s perfect as it fits around my photography business.

Take us through a typical day: I start work at 8.15 after taking my daughter to school. I’m usually the first to arrive and the person who puts the kettle on. It’s then down to business!

I usually start by checking emails and our social media platforms. I then check the daily papers for relevant articles and then it’s all about creating content for social media, newsletters, press reports and our website to highlight the work of the Foundation and how it connects people who care with causes that matter in Cumbria.

It’s non-stop as it’s the Foundation’s 20th anniversary this year. Our target is to raise £250,000 for the Cumbria Fund to enable even more groups to do what they do best – helping improve lives in Cumbria.

We are encouraging people and businesses to get involved and take part in their own challenge to help raise money for the Cumbria Fund, which supports around 50 community projects each year.

I’m never stuck for something to write about as Cumbria Community Foundation has distributed £44million in grants to more than 4,000 groups and 8,000 individuals over the last 20 years. It’s my job to write about these groups.

I recently wrote a lovely story about the community of Caldbeck and how a vast number of projects, managed by Northern Fells Group, has received more than £122,000 in grants to support its community.

I visited the heart-warming community project called ‘Men in Sheds’. It was lovely to meet the group, and I had the opportunity to take some great photos.

I spend most of my time creating content. This includes writing grant stories and newsletters to designing leaflets and imagery. There is always plenty to do but we always make time for a lunch break, when we discuss the weekend’s shenanigans and the latest Netflix series that everyone is watching.

Because it’s so busy, the days fly by.

I always learn something new and look forward to learning about the next funded project, taking the next photograph or attending the next event.

What do you like most about the job? There is never a dull moment! I enjoy meeting new people, attending events and learning about great people in our community. Chatting with people about their lives and having the opportunity to create videos and take photographs is my favourite part of the job.

What do you like least? Tea breaks when I’m made to eat cake and biscuits, it’s just not great for the waistline.

Why did you want to do this job? It’s perfect for me! I have always admired the work of Cumbria Community Foundation and took this as a great opportunity to work with a great team of people who do great work with fundholders to meet the very real needs and issues in our local communities. It’s very rewarding, fulfilling and there is always something new to learn.

What jobs have you done previously? I am also a freelance photographer and have been for over 11 years, mainly portraits and commercial photography for social media. It’s taken me as far as Spain and once a year I still go and help a horse riding holiday business called Hacienda Horses with its media and photography. This is really great because I can take my family to enjoy the sunshine: the only thing is, we have been known to bring a rescue dog or two back, so we are a slightly bigger family now.

I also worked as a college lecturer for 13 years and I worked at The Beacon, Whitehaven Tourist Information Centre, and Summergrove Halls. While studying for a degree, I was lucky enough to gain work experience in South Africa with an events company and then with the SA Tourist Board as well as a working holiday in Greece and a job swap in Cyprus with Limassol Tourist Information Centre.

What qualifications or experience do you need? A relevant degree include advertising, public relations, business, digital marketing, media and journalism. It is helpful to support the team in promoting the organisation by raising its profile and awareness within the local community.

There are work-based routes too, such as Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeships.

Being self-motivated and a people-person is essential, along with having media skills that helps you connect with people. Having a creative skill such as photography is also very useful as marketing is very visual.

Ideally you need to be a dynamic storyteller with excellent writing skills, social media understanding and experience within PR, events and media relations.

What is a typical salary for this job? £24,000

Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? Do as much training as you can to give you a variety of media skills, there are lots of opportunities online. Volunteer your skills to gain lots of experience – this is invaluable and helps to make contacts which may lead to a job in the future.

Be confident and never turn down an opportunity you never know where it might lead.

Funding awarded to local groups in Barrow

Charitable causes in and around the Barrow area have received a share of more than £36,000 to provide support to some of the most disadvantaged people across the peninsular.

Four community groups and one young person received a share of the funds at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent Barrow Community Trust grants panel. The funding supported activities addressing drug and alcohol issues, health and wellbeing and a litter picking project.

Carry on Breathing, which supports people with respiratory problems, received £1,000 from the Barrow Community Trust Fund towards running costs and activities such as yoga and singing workshops. The club was formed by the Barrow-based breathing support group to focus on techniques and exercises to alleviate respiratory problems.

Harry Brunskill, Secretary, said: “We have talks from doctors and nurses, gentle exercise like chair yoga, singing and the chance to chat with other people with similar problems. Sessions take place at The Living Well Centre on Duke Street from 1.30pm to 3pm on the first Wednesday in the month and at Ulverston Health Centre from 2pm to 4pm on the third Wednesday in the month.”

Barrow’s streets will become a lot cleaner thanks to community action group, Zest Cumbria CIC after it received £2,535 from the Cumbria Grassroots Fund for litter picking equipment, and high vis tabards. Zest Cumbria is made up of a group local of people wanting to make positive changes in the Barrow community.

Elaine Roberts, Director, said: “Litter comes in many forms. Take a look the next time you walk outside – you can’t miss it. Cigarette butts, fast food packaging, crisp bags, cans and cartons, newspapers, ATM slips, chewing gum. You name it, and it’s on our streets, in our parks and on our beaches.

“We are extremely grateful to Barrow Community Trust for awarding our group this funding to buy new litter picking equipment. We will be putting this equipment to good use and get the ‘war on litter’ started. We have already organised four community litter picks, both adults and kids are welcome to attend. Keep an eye out for our litter mascot ‘Pick It Up Pete’, he is going to be out and about in the community.”

For more details about ZEST and the organised litter picking events, visit its Facebook page:

Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS), received £30,000 over 3 years from the Cumbria Fund to fund recruit and support volunteers. Leigh Williams, Chief Executive Officer said: “We are forever grateful for this grant. It will help us to meet the real boom in the demand for services in the Barrow area and we aim to double the size of the volunteer scheme. One thing we really want to do is use specific volunteer skills, such as yoga and mindfulness to help us deliver a programme of health and wellbeing activities. This will help our clients learn new skills to help them sustain their own wellbeing.”

If you are from the Furness area and think you might be able to help, email to find out more about its new exciting volunteer opportunities.

Ellen Clements, Grants and Donor Services at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Organisations like CADAS are essential in tackling issues in the local community and with help from the funds managed by the Foundation they can make a real difference.”

Applications for the next round of funding need to be submitted by Friday 14th June 2019. For more information or to apply visit or contact the grants team on 01900 825760.