11th June 2019
Volunteers from all walks of life and all corners of Cumbria met Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday 11th June.
Cumbria Community Foundation nominated 50 volunteers and community representatives to join them to welcome the royal couple to Keswick.
For the charity, which has given £44 million to good causes in the past 20 years, it’s the highlight of its anniversary year so far.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive, said: “We welcomed The Duke and Duchess with some of the most selfless people from communities around Cumbria. One thing that makes us different to other places, is the way that people look at an issue, have an idea and set about fixing it. Our role at the Community Foundation is to bring people together who want to help Cumbrian communities make a real difference, whether that’s our fundholders, who have helped us give out more than £44 million in grants, or the community leaders we support who are addressing real issues and changing lives for the better.
“So, on Tuesday, we had representatives from a number of voluntary groups who have had financial support from Cumbria Community Foundation, but who would not exist without the efforts of their volunteers.
“Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, who have received £15,000 in grants came along. Their expertise in swift water rescue was invaluable during the floods. We have also helped Keswick Flood Action Group, who mobilise a little army of volunteers when the floods strike, they’ve had more than £30,000.
“Their Royal Highnesses met representatives from the Howgill Family Centre, an essential community resource offering a huge amount of support to families across west Cumbria. It has received just over £230,000 in grants and through its many volunteers, provides skills, health and social care services.
Brenda Holden, Chair of Howgill Family Centre, said: “On behalf of everyone, can I say an enormous thank you for including us in the royal visit event. We felt privileged to have attended and meeting the Duchess of Cambridge was a real honour. Networking with the other groups before the Duke and Duchess arrived was brilliant – we met people who can help us and who we can help which is always a bonus.”
“One woman who has started more than one life-changing community initiative in west Cumbria is Rachel Holliday and she joined us too. Her first initiative was to set up Calderwood House, a hostel for the homeless in Egremont which hosts people for up to six months and helps them get back on their feet. Her latest idea is Women out West, helping women in all kinds of circumstances, from victims of domestic violence, to those affected by separation or divorce, women living in poverty or on low incomes, to those who want to set up their own business.” Andy said.
He continues: “And perhaps one of the most inspiring projects is We Will – a group of teenagers from Maryport who are providing Youth Mental Health First Aid to tackle teenage mental health issues. This grassroots group started with a grant of £10,000.”
Rachel Suddart, who supports the We Will youth mental health group, said: “Thank you for inviting the group to be part of your birthday celebrations. They were thrilled to be asked, really enjoyed the event and were blown away by the Duke and Duchess’ knowledge and interest in their campaign. It was also a terrific experience for them to be able to meet and talk with other local volunteer organisations.”
Andy continues: “For the past 20 years we have supported people in their communities to make lasting change. I am grateful to have the opportunity to shine a light on some of those by introducing some really remarkable Cumbrians to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“I am really privileged to be one of those invited, it’s great for our charity and it’s great for Cumbria.”