Cumbria Community Foundation – Creating Stronger Foundations

17th September 2020

Throughout its 20-year history, Cumbria Community Foundation’s annual celebration dinner has been a firm favourite in the autumn calendar for hundreds of people from across the county.  Due to restrictions, this year the Foundation has arranged a virtual annual showcase event and everyone is welcome.

Stronger Foundations: the way through COVID-19 will be held online on Thursday 15 October and there is capacity for the Foundation to extend the invitation to anyone who would like to hear more about its work and its plans for the future. Rory Stewart, former MP for Penrith and the Borders and candidate for leader of the Conservative Party and London Mayor, is the keynote speaker for the evening. His unique awareness and insight into the situation in Cumbria and nationally will underpin his talk on how the county can build back on stronger foundations as it moves forward through the impact of COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Cumbria’s charitable sector has shown great strength in adapting to new challenges, shifting the service they deliver and how they deliver it, with many having to move much of their work online. Organisations with the same goals – in the third sector, local government, and wider commercial and infrastructure organisations – have worked together to deliver better, more impactful services, and to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable.

Kevin Walsh from Cumbria Community Foundation with some of the members of the SHINE group in Brampton at Brampton Community Centre. Left to right. Kevin Walsh with volunteers Lesley Cook, Sue Angus, Nicky Beacham, Sylvie Giecco, Doug Martin, Carol Bell and Angie Wareing. Photograph Jonathan Becker.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at the Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Rory Stewart, who knows the county so well, is able to join us and speak about the way forward for Cumbria through COVID-19. We will also hear from two local groups that have been supported through our COVID-19 Response Fund: Food initiative, S.H.I.N.E. (Support, Help in Nourishing Everyone), which was established during the pandemic to support vulnerable people in Brampton, and Love Barrow Families.

“Communities throughout Cumbria, and the UK, have come together in response to COVID-19. There has been an overwhelming public response to the call for volunteers and millions of pounds have been donated to the third sector demonstrating an innate desire for people to support each other. We would like to use that strengthened spirit of collaboration and build on these stronger foundations to shape our county for the better, and give our third sector the support it needs to respond to the emerging and evolving challenges presented by COVID-19.”

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 and to date has awarded more than £1.3 million to over 160 groups across Cumbria. The needs continue to evolve as the situation develops and donations to the fund are needed as much as ever.

Richard Dawson, Regional Director at Rathbones noted that they were pleased to accept the request to sponsor this event as part of their regular support for the Foundation: “Cumbria is a region that will feel the impact of the current pandemic as tourism companies will continue to be affected for some time to come. The impact on local employment is already being felt and following the end of the furlough scheme we envisage this continuing potentially into 2021. Organisations such as Cumbria Community Foundation, with its resources and connections across the county, are invaluable in helping people and organisations negotiate these challenging times.”

The Foundation is also pleased to welcome members and supporters of the newly launched Cumbria Club to its first annual showcase event. There will be a presentation from the Foundation’s Vice President, Lord Bragg introducing the Cumbria Club to a wider audience.