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Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund gets boost from national appeal

Cumbria Community Foundation is one of the 46 local community foundations across the country that will be distributing grants to front line charities to help them respond to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Emergencies Trust launched an appeal to raise funds to help community foundations to make those grants to local charities. With the nation’s businesses and major charitable trusts stepping forward, that appeal has raised almost £11m, and Cumbria Community Foundation has received a £50,000 share. That money will be used alongside the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund that the foundation administers which, due to the generous donations from charitable trusts and generous individuals, now stands at just over £500,000.

Chief Executive Officer of Cumbria Community Foundation Andy Beeforth said, “The national appeal launched by the National Emergencies Trust will distribute money raised through community foundations, including Cumbria Community Foundation. This funding will be in addition to grants we award from our own Cumbria Covid-19 Response Fund. The generosity shown so far will ensure that we get through this unprecedented time with the most vulnerable people in Cumbria cared for and supported.”

The Foundation has been inundated with enquiries for funding and the first grants will be distributed early next week. Those grants will be made to charitable projects across Cumbria that are supporting people affected by COVID-19, particularly those who are at risk from the virus, helping to keep them safe and supported in their homes, and reducing pressure on the NHS.

A number of applications have already been received from local community response groups. New and existing groups are supporting the community across Cumbria. With the help of a grant from the fund, one group in a rural area of 3,000 residents will offer support to those self-isolating. That support may change as the situation develops, but will include picking up shopping, posting mail, dog walking, collecting prescriptions, and making befriending phone calls.

Smaller groups are also applying; one application is for a ‘Chit Chat’ phone service for a Craft Group for the visually impaired. The COVID-19 virus restrictions mean that this vulnerable group cannot meet for their usual regular face-to-face sessions right now and this phone service will be an opportunity for them to maintain contact and combat isolation.

In response to COVID-19, the Foundation has already helped support the website: with a grant of £1,000. The website provides a central point to help coordinate volunteering efforts to support Cumbria residents who may need help. The website can help you find local organisations to register an interest with volunteering in your community.

The Foundation is aware that many people and businesses will be struggling financially, however, for those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, they can visit or contact 01900 825760. The Fund is dedicated to Cumbria and provides a focus for charitable trusts, companies and other organisations who wish to support the community and charity response in the county.

For further information about The National Emergencies Trust appeal to raise funds to help local charities across the country please visit:

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should visit: or contact the grants team on

Half a million raised for Cumbria Covid-19 Response Fund

Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund last week with £100,000 of its own funds. Since then, the total now stands at just over half a million.

Grant funders and charitable trusts in Cumbria have shown a sign of solidarity by collectively contributing to the Fund and an anonymous couple have donated £250,000.

With the over-70s and vulnerable being told to self-isolate to reduce the risk of them catching the virus, it puts even more pressure and demands on charities. To try and alleviate this pressure, the Fund will initially give priority to applications from charities supporting those considered to be the most vulnerable during this pandemic.

Francis C Scott Charitable Trust donated £50,000. John McGovern, Chair of Trustees said: “The virus may be invisible, but its impact will be seen and felt by many in Cumbria. We hope others will join us in providing support to Cumbria Community Foundation in its efforts to protect the most vulnerable.”

Sir John Fisher Foundation also donated £50,000. David Dawson, Executive Officer at Sir John Fisher Foundation, said: “By working in partnership with other Cumbrian funders, we’ll use our collective knowledge to reach the organisations helping vulnerable people on the ground.

“Our communities will be hit hard by the impact of coronavirus and they will need significant support over the next few months. We hope that our participation and contribution will increase the benefits the funding can bring to those who need it most and will serve to strengthen communities under pressure at this difficult time.”

Another £50,000 was donated by Copeland Community Fund. Board Member, David Moore, said: “Given the potential impact of the current situation on individuals and communities in Copeland, our Board made a unanimous decision to support the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund with a £50,000 donation for Copeland based community organisations.

“It is more important than ever that we collaborate as funders to ensure funding is swiftly made available, supporting delivery of vital support services to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will work alongside the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal which is raising money nationally to financially support groups across the county.

Andy Beeforth, CEO at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We’re thrilled that our funding partners have made this commitment to the Fund, building on their already fantastic support in the community through their own grants. With this additional funding, we’ll be able to make more grants to reach the organisations helping vulnerable people on the ground. We expect to make the first grants within the week.”

For more information about the Fund and how to donate, visit

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should visit: or contact the grants team on

Community Foundation launches Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund

Cumbria Community Foundation has set up a fund to help charitable groups support vulnerable people affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As the virus spreads across the county, those who are vulnerable will be hardest hit and in times of crisis, many people turn to charities for support.

Like other sectors, Cumbria’s charitable organisations are likely to face challenges in the coming weeks and months.

There will be an increase in demand for their services while they are already under resourced and at capacity, with some having to completely change the way they operate. Many are reliant on volunteers and will struggle if they must self-isolate, become ill or have caring responsibilities. Many will also see a drop in their income due to cancelled fundraising events and reduced rental and activity income.

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will prioritise funding to charitable projects across the county that are supporting people affected by the virus, helping to keep them safe and supported in their homes and reducing pressure on the NHS.

Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We recognise that the outbreak of COVID-19 is an exceptional event that is already having an immediate impact on many of the charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups we support with grant funding. We know that these groups already helping those who will be most impacted are going to be stretched thin.

“We have already seen a number of informal support networks springing up around the county to help the significant number of older people who live in our area who have chosen to self-isolate as a preventative measure against the virus. These people are at an increased risk of loneliness and isolation and will miss out on regular social interaction.”

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will support charitable projects providing activities that help vulnerable people self-isolating, provide funding to coordinate community response and support volunteers, and increase capacity for organisations providing emergency support, such as foodbanks or benefits advice.

Andy continues: “This situation is rapidly evolving, so we wanted to quickly get a fund in place to support our community and give people who have been enquiring about what they can do to help a place to go. Philanthropy has an important role to play in supporting and enhancing the government response, especially in support of our most vulnerable communities. We have seen through various appeals in the past that local people really do care about where they live and want to ensure that those hardest hit are supported.”

Cumbria Community Foundation has contributed £100,000 to the Fund. The Foundation is aware that many people and businesses will be struggling financially, however, for those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, they can click here or contact 01900 825760. The Fund will also provide a focus for charitable trusts, companies and other organisations wishing to support the community and charity response.

The Fund is dedicated to Cumbria. A national appeal has also launched and the National Emergencies Trust will distribute money raised through a number of charitable organisations, including community foundations. This funding will be in addition to grants we award from our Fund and may have different arrangements.

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should click here or contact the grants team via email

Charities benefit from a quarter of a million pounds

Charitable projects across West Cumbria have received a share of more than £266,000 to break down the barriers that inequality can create and increase opportunities for improved health and wellbeing and learning opportunities.

Almost 80 charitable organisations and 40 people received a share of the funds at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants panel.

The money came from grant making funds, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, including those set up by CCL Secure, Lamont Pridmore, Shepley Engineers, Thomas Graham & Sons and United Utilities.

Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club (CWSC) received £1,625 from the Shepley Group Fund and £850 from Thomas Graham & Sons Fund to deliver high quality professional coach-led wheelchair basketball in Whitehaven. Chairman of CWSC, Ray McBride, said: “The grant is hugely important to us at CWSC and is one more example of the Foundation helping small grassroot charities like ours to survive. We understand that many people in Whitehaven and its surrounding areas struggle to make ends meet for even the most basic of needs such as food, heat and clothing. That is why we keep our fees for basketball sessions as low as possible. Without the generous support of Cumbria Community Foundation, we wouldn’t be able to provide disabled people with the opportunity to take part in fun but challenging wheelchair sports. Our Whitehaven operation would have simply had to close down.”

CWSC runs its weekly inclusive wheelchair basketball sessions every Thursday from 3.30pm-4.30 pm at Mayfield School in Whitehaven. Those of all ages and abilities are welcome.

Rosehill Youth Theatre, which runs the Solway Hall in Whitehaven received £1,000 from the Shepley Group Fund to support its volunteers. Anne Kelly, Trustee said: “We have many charities, organisations, community projects and the general public that use our facilities every day of the week, it wouldn’t be possible to do this if we didn’t have an amazing bunch of volunteers who all play an important role from cleaning, dressing the main hall, running the bar to providing food in our kitchen. For the volunteers to be able to support our local community like we do, we need funding to cover things such as transport and training costs, and this is where the Community Foundation has helped us, so we all would like to say a huge big thank you!”

North Allerdale Development Trust’s Early Intervention Programme received £17,000 from Cumberland Educational Foundation Fund, CCL Secure Community Fund and the Live the Dream Fund. The funding will provide vital support to young people aged 9 to 16 that are struggling in formal education. According to figures from the Department of Education, last year, 7,000 days were lost to school exclusions in Cumbria alone and these figures do not account for pupils being placed in internal isolation within school or the impact it has on the mental wellbeing of young people.

Last year, the award-winning programme received 150 referrals from schools and services throughout Cumbria. This year, that figure will be in excess of 200. Sandra Keaveney, Chief Executive at North Allerdale Development Trust, said: ‘’This grant will help us to continue to provide this much needed service for our young people, while continuing to develop to their needs. Young people in Cumbria today can face several challenges in their social environments, whether these be economic or other factors which can negatively contribute to their mental wellbeing and learning. The Early Intervention Programme seeks to address these before they reach crisis point.’’

Annalee Holliday, 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. Charitable giving puts money into disadvantaged communities and unlocks more resources through people’s voluntary efforts. 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.”