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Allied Health Professionals in Cumbria are taking part in a Big Sleep

Allied Health Professionals in Cumbria are taking part in a ‘Big Sleep’ on 1 February to raise money for older people struggling to stay warm.

People are being encouraged to donate and help the Cumbria Allied Health Professionals’ Big Sleep reach their fundraising goal. They are hoping to raise £1,000 for Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.
The Big Sleep challenge asks people to sleep outside to raise funds for people who have difficulties heating their homes. This year they will be sleeping overnight in Carlisle railway station’s undercroft.

Tragically, around 300 deaths occur in Cumbria each year due to the effects of cold weather.  The Winter Warmth Appeal was launched in 2010 and has literally saved lives. Cumbria Community Foundation distribute donations made to the Appeal to vulnerable older people who struggle to heat their homes, so they can stay warm and healthy during winter.

Janet Folland, organiser of the event and Associate Director of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) at Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As AHPs we often work with people in their homes and communities, helping them to stay in their own homes or return safely from hospital. We know how much of a struggle winter can be for many people who are vulnerable.”

“The Cumbrian weather is infamous, and the effects of cold weather and flooding on our area over the past few years have been devastating. Our region also has the highest level of fuel poverty in the country, with around 13% of households struggling to afford heating. The Winter Warmth Fund has been such an important safety net for the people we have worked with.”

Allied Health Professions (AHPs) are the third largest workforce in the NHS, providing care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across many sectors. There are 14 Allied Health Professions including Occupational Therapists, Paramedics, Dietitians and Art/Music Therapists.

AHP Big Sleep at Honister Slate Mine

In previous years, the AHP Big Sleep has been held in a cavern at the Honister Slate Mine. Despite fantastic support from the team at the mine, this year the event will have a change of scenery after Carlisle railway station generously agreed to open the underground part of the station.

“The owner and staff at the mine were incredibly supportive, but this year we wanted to explore a new venue. The undercroft of Carlisle station was suggested, and as it’s (apparently) the most haunted station in the country this seemed ideal!” said Janet. She added, “Being at the station with access to the platforms also enables us to raise awareness of the Winter Warmth Appeal among the general public.”

Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Older Cumbrians should not be dying because they can’t afford to keep themselves warm. Our Winter Warmth Appeal plays a vital part in supporting vulnerable older people and helps to alleviate some of the winter pressures attributed to fuel poverty.”

“We’re very grateful for the continued support from the Allied Health Professionals and to everyone camping out at Carlisle train station. One cold, uncomfortable night’s sleep will ensure older people are kept warm and well over the colder months.”

Mark Green, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Carlisle, said: “We’re proud to be supporting the Winter Warmth Appeal by welcoming Cumbria Allied Health Professionals to the station undercroft for The Big Sleep Challenge.

It is well-known that the undercroft can be cold and unforgiving, so we’re sure the fundraising efforts will help older people stay warm and healthy for the next few months.”

This event is organised by Allied Health Professionals working in Cumbria regardless of organisation, employer or profession; participants have joined in from healthcare providers, local authorities, universities and the private sector in the past.

Janet Folland added: “It’s an opportunity for us to come together to show how much we care for our community, and raise awareness and much-needed funds for the Winter Warmth Appeal.”

To sponsor the team with a donation to the Winter Warmth Appeal, click here

To find out more about the Winter Warmth Appeal and how to access the support, click here

Women and girls projects in Cumbria receive major funding boost

Local groups supporting women and girls facing a range of challenges across Cumbria have received a share of more than £24,000 to continue their vital work.

This is the second time Cumbria Community Foundation has awarded money from the Tampon Tax Community Fund to help women and girls. The projects funded are addressing key themes such as: building skills and confidence, improving health and wellbeing, building social networks and supporting people affected by domestic and sexual abuse.

Be Me Project received £10,000 to work with 60 schoolgirls aged 12-15 in Barrow who have been identified by their school as needing additional support and intervention with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. The Be Me Project has been running in Surrey for four years, working primarily in secondary schools to support young women to improve their identity, wellbeing, and mental health. The yearlong project will deliver courses within schools in the Barrow area. Course Leader, Lisa Smith, said: “We inspire girls and women to find, celebrate and embrace their real identity and to be equipped to cope with the world’s pressures.”

Project John in Barrow received £3,278 to run a programme called ‘This is Me’. Katherine Burrows, First Contact Worker, said: “The nine-month training programme, which starts on 13th January, will enable groups of young women make connections in a safe environment, build relationships and improve their self-esteem. We will look at job opportunities including CV writing and at issues around health, including making sure they have access to doctors and dentists and sexual health services.”

Women out West received £5,114 to run additional sessions at Haig Enterprise Park in Whitehaven and a residential project. Angie Dean, Centre Manager, said: “We are very excited to be planning our first residential session to Keswick thanks to this grant. The focus for the weekend is on wellbeing and improved fitness. Our lead planner knows first-hand the power of physical fitness on mental wellbeing as she has used fitness to improve her own mind set and personal circumstances. She believes that fitness is for all and is a very positive, dynamic inspirational person. We will be having Yoga sessions, mindfulness exercises, walks, arts and crafts, physical exercise sessions related to our different abilities, and a whole host of other positive activities.”

Safety Net UK received £5,956 for its peer support group which is open to women in Cumbria that have experienced trauma through rape, exploitation, sexual and domestic abuse and is based at its head office in Carlisle.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer, said: “This funding supports groups on the ground that are making a huge difference to the lives of women and girls in our local area. We know there is huge demand out there for these services and we are proud to support small organisations working in our community to access vital public funding, which otherwise they may miss out on.”

The purpose of the Tampon Tax Fund is to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. UK Community Foundations is one of the UK’s largest grant-makers and was asked by government to distribute the largest share of the funding raised through the levy on sanitary products through its network of community foundations. A total of £6.9 million has been awarded nationally to grassroots groups in the two rounds of funding.