Communities across Cumbria benefit from £360,000

19th November 2019

Community projects across the county have received a share of more than £360,000 to tackle issues such as unemployment, bullying, financial exclusion and health and wellbeing.

A total of 39 charitable organisations received a share of the funds at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants panel. The funding will support a wide range of projects across the county, including Appleby Heritage Centre, Carer Support South Lakes and Safety Net (UK).

18 people have also received a share of almost £12,000 towards educational and training related costs, as well as victims of domestic violence receiving support from the Cumbria Victims Charitable Trust.

The money came from grant making funds, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, including those set up by Cumberland Building Society, Russell Armer and Westmorland Ltd.

Appleby Heritage and Training Centre received a two-year grant of £20,000 from the Westmorland Family Community Fund to provide vocational courses for young people. The centre has recently become an approved provider for apprenticeships and delivers engineering, motor vehicle and business admin apprenticeships with levy funded employers.

Centre Manager, Mandy Morland, said: “We had a demand for local school leavers to access their full-time education through the centre, which we can now provide thanks to the funding and ensure young people fulfil their further education choices. We also wanted to expand our offering to students in Year 10 to access vocational courses out of school and this will now allow us to do that. Our facilities are well equipped. Students benefit from small class sizes and the unique setting of converted railway carriages adds to the inviting experience.”

Safety Net (UK) received £4,000 from the Brian & Ann Clark Fund and £1,000 Abbeyfield Carlisle Society Over 55 Community First Fund. This money will allow the charity to run peer support groups specifically for men who have experienced the trauma of rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse.

The monthly, three-hour sessions will help reduce isolation that has arisen due to trauma, increase confidence and self-esteem and improve mental health impacting on overall health and wellbeing. A range of activities will be on offer and the group sessions will discuss issues such as forgiveness, psychosexual difficulties, anger and shame, coping strategies for mental health difficulties, mindfulness and meditation.

Lesley Story, Chief Officer, said: “We know older men struggle to ask for help and support, many of them have kept the trauma they experienced through abuse buried for decades and this project seeks to offer peer support.”

One man who used the new service said: “I felt ashamed and alone, I have had a lifetime of struggle. I struggled to hold a job, to keep a relationship and I was drinking heavily. Coming to the group released my pain, I know I am not alone, it wasn’t about me, it was about what happened to me. I want to help other men see this and feel this. The pain doesn’t dissolve immediately, you learn ways to cope with it.”

£1,000 from the Johnson Fund will support the Carer Life Skills Programme run by Carer Support South Lakes. The programme has three themes: teaching practical skills such as household tasks, managing finances, for example budgeting, sorting insurance, and a lasting power of attorney and ‘end of life care’ including the practicalities of organising a funeral and applying for probate.

Mike Seaton, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to have received a grant towards a new life skills programme for adult carers. The aim is to help carers manage the ‘here and now’ as well as preparing for life after caring, ensuring things are in place before they are needed.”

Ellen Clements, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are many worthy organisations around the county that hold communities together and continue to support the needs of local people. We are ever grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these vital services, especially during times when local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.”

The closing date for Cumbria Community Foundation’s next closing date for the main grants panel is 20th December 2019 with the panel on 21st January 2020.