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Community groups encouraged to apply for grant funding

Cumbrian charities and other voluntary organisations working to alleviate problems during the Coronavirus crisis are being urged to apply for grants.

Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund in March to support communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak by helping local organisations to deliver vital support and services directly to vulnerable people. The charity has so far awarded £1.5m to more than 170 groups with grants ranging between £100 and £75,000.

The Fund has to date raised nearly £1.9 million with donations from local businesses alongside the National Emergencies Trust appeal and many individuals.

Funding is still available to directly support community organisations who are working at the grassroots and providing care to those who need it throughout the pandemic.

It will prioritise projects and organisations playing a vital role in helping and supporting communities, making sure people don’t go hungry, that their emotional wellbeing is being looked after as much as it is possible, and they have access to vital advice and guidance for the longer-term support they may need. It will also support projects that give young people the best chances to maximise their learning and employment.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “These groups are doing so much to tackle the effects of Coronavirus and the lockdown, which as we know have affected most seriously those people in the community who were already at a disadvantage.

“The funding can help to make a real difference to the lives of people in Cumbria and I urge any of the groups who are doing great work for the community to apply for a grant before the 10th November deadline.

“Our grants team are very supportive and if anyone has any questions about the process, please do get in touch with them for help.” ​

For more information or to apply, call 01900 825760 or visit

Rory Stewart endorses work of local charity and highlights the merits of a Cumbria Mayor

Rory Stewart brought his unique awareness and insight into the situation in Cumbria and nationally to an online charity event last week, headlining Cumbria Community Foundation’s Annual Showcase event, Stronger Foundations – the way through COVID-19.

The former MP for Penrith and the Border and candidate for leader of the Conservative Party and London Mayor endorsed a local, flexible approach to the issues the county is facing, a response that he said the Foundation was best able to provide. “We should focus very much on supporting organisations like Cumbria Community Foundation that have the local knowledge, the compassion, the interest and above all, the flexibility to respond to the hundreds of different issues that we’re likely to face.” said Rory.

Rory talked about the stark unemployment statistics affecting the county and the economic disparity between different areas of Cumbria that was apparent before COVID-19 and exacerbated by the pandemic. Due to the tourism-reliant nature of the South Lakes economy, 42% of the workforce in the district has been claiming furlough support or other forms of government aid over recent months, explaining the area’s economy is a ‘special case’ that makes further aid necessary. As well as the importance of tourism, Rory talked about farming and the very extreme problems that are being posed on rural communities by COVID-19 and potential issues by new trade deals now we have left the European Union.

He went on to talk about how the county can build back on stronger foundations and move forward during these challenging times. One option he suggested was the appointment of a mayor for Cumbria: “We need somebody who can really come up with policies that respond closely to Cumbrian needs and who has the power to raise money and spend money.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at Cumbria Community Foundation gave an update to the online audience of almost 200 people on the charity’s work over the past year and the challenges faced by community groups. The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 and to date has awarded £1.5 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.

Andy said: “We are delighted that Rory Stewart, who knows the county so well, was able to join us and speak about the way forward for Cumbria through COVID-19.

“It was very inspirational to hear from 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 who shared their experiences of how their organisations are supporting the most vulnerable of our communities. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the event.”

The Foundation was also pleased to welcome members and supporters of the newly launched Cumbria Club to its first annual showcase event. The Foundation’s Vice President, Lord Bragg introduced the Cumbria Club to the wider audience, and the Foundation looks forward to Cumbria Club members around the country widening the net of moral and financial support for the county.

A full recording of the event and interviews is available here:

If you would like to know more about supporting the work of Cumbria Community Foundation, visit

Charitable funding across Barrow and Furness will help communities thrive

Charitable organisations across Barrow and the Furness peninsula have received a share of more than £100,000 at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants committee.

The money, which was awarded to six community projects, will support vulnerable families, provide financial advice and guidance, increase community cohesion and improve health and wellbeing.

Encouraging social inclusion and community engagement is the aim of the Ormsgill stronger together project. Working in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Constabulary, Furness Multicultural Community Forum, Dropzone Youth Projects and Schneider Road Community Group, the project received £19,707.

The grant will be used to employ a local person to deliver activities that encourage community cohesion, including a peer mentoring programme, an intergenerational project, the development of a youth committee and a mum’s group. The BAME community will also be encouraged to get involved, especially Syrian families in Ormsgill through volunteering opportunities.

Janine Adams, Lead Community and Youth Worker at Furness Multicultural Community Forum, said: “I’m really excited to be leading on this project, along with some amazing partner organisations. We hope that the project will have a positive impact across all generations in Ormsgill.  The aim of the project is to work with the people of Ormsgill to create opportunities and build positive relationships, which will allow for the community to thrive, both now and in the future.

Love Barrow Families received £34,689 to cover the rent of its building on Abbey Road for the next three years. The organisation works with vulnerable families by improving the relationships between adult and children’s health and social care services. By offering these families a single integrated service, families are supported to understand their underlying issues and parents are engaged to address the needs of their family.

Rugby league club, Barrow Raiders, received £42,000 over three years for its Advantage! Programme, which promotes sport, health and wellbeing and support disadvantaged groups, young people and adults in schools, colleges, and the wider community.

Siona Hartley, Schools and Community Liaison Officer, said: “It was wonderful to receive the news from Cumbria Community Foundation that we have been successful in our bid for funding, which makes a significant contribution, in allowing us to sustain our development over the next three years.

“Over the last eighteen months, we have developed Advantage! from an idea, supported by the brilliant Chairman of Barrow Raiders, Steve Neale, to an organisation which has directly engaged with over 1,700 individuals of all ages on the Furness Peninsula. We bring sport, health and wellbeing to the community through our wide range of projects for all ages, such as Raid Runners, Raider Girls and Raiders Learning Disability Sports.

“An initial grant from the Community Foundation contributed to the set up and allowed us to attract other funders to Advantage! We are extremely grateful that the Foundation has recognised our enormous progress since inception and is helping us to fund our sustainability.

“Cumbria Community Foundation plays a vital role in supporting the good work of many organisations throughout our county, and we at Advantage! applaud its work.”

Ellen Clements, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are many worthy organisations in the Barrow and Furness area that hold communities together. Grants are vital in helping local people and helping our communities to thrive. We are grateful for the continued support of all our fund holders.”

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit or call a member of the grants team on 01900 825760.

Community Foundation announces staff promotions

Two new roles have been filled at Cumbria Community Foundation to strengthen and grow the charity’s impact and ensure some of the biggest issues facing communities can be tackled now and in the long-term.

Founded in 1999, Cumbria Community Foundation distributes more than £2m in grants each year to community groups and individuals on behalf of a wide range of donors. The Foundation manages more than 100 charitable funds and has grown its endowment fund to £21 million.

Dr Jenny Benson and Jacqui Currie were welcomed into their new roles at the Foundation this month.

Dr Jenny Benson has been promoted to the position of Director of Programmes and Partnerships. Jenny joined the Foundation nearly five years ago to manage the £10.3m Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund and has more recently undertaken a role to promote philanthropic giving. She will now lead the charity’s grant making and be responsible for developing and establishing strategic partnerships that will generate further investment into the voluntary sector. She will also be working with the public, private and voluntary sector to highlight the needs in the county and increase the charity’s profile as one of the county’s leading independent funding organisations.

Dr Jenny Benson said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new opportunity. I have always been passionate about serving our local communities and care deeply about addressing local needs and looking after the most vulnerable people in our community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated disadvantage and highlighted the importance of communities, organisations, agencies and business working together. The Foundation has a strong track record of partnership working and in delivering effective grant making programmes. I am looking forward to working with the team at the Foundation and collaborating with other partners, to make an even greater difference to those communities who are most in need.”

Jacqui Currie will be taking on the new role of Head of Development, having worked for the Foundation for more than a year as 20th Anniversary Events and Fundraising Coordinator. As part of the Senior Leadership Team, she will be managing the Foundation’s development plan, seeking out new opportunities for engagement and funding streams, as well as leading on membership and ambassador programmes.

Jacqui said: “This is a great opportunity, which I am delighted to accept. I am determined to increase engagement with individuals and organisations across the county and beyond to help the Foundation continue to grow.

“As a proud Cumbrian, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help address disadvantage across my home county and I will be encouraging those who are in a position to give in these challenging times to channel their support through the Foundation.”

Andy Beeforth, OBE, Chief Executive with the Community Foundation said, “Jacqui and Jenny bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to their work at the Community Foundation. We’re delighted they’ve accepted these challenging roles at a time when the work of the Community Foundation has never been more important.”

Health and care organisations across north Cumbria provide fund for third sector organisations supporting those struggling

On the eve of World Mental Health Day, health and care organisations in north Cumbria are making £180,000 available to support third sector organisations responding to an increase in people struggling to cope.

The Psychological Support Fund will be held by Cumbria Community Foundation.

The considerable impact of Covid-19, and the subsequent lockdown, has been significant on people’s lives – physically, emotionally and economically.

Anxiety, stress and depression are normal reactions to life events such as losing someone, losing your job, or suffering isolation. It isn’t inevitable that everyone needs clinical intervention and timely support may be better delivered by small, local organisations.

Bids for grants of up to £25,000, which demonstrate a collaborative approach, and tackle the following areas will be considered:

  • Impact of anxiety and isolation
  • Bereavement

Peter Rooney, Chief Operating Officer of NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“I’m really proud that we have been able to create this partnership approach of health, care and third sector working with – and for – our community, just ahead of World Mental Health Day.

“We know that this has been an extraordinarily challenging time for our community and many people are struggling. We want to make sure there is help for people when they need it and where possible prevent issues becoming a medicalised problem.

“Working together is the key to doing the best for our community, supporting population mental wellbeing; promoting positive mental health and psychological resilience in individuals and in local communities. We hope this is a step towards future collaborations.”

Cllr Patricia Bell, Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services for Cumbria County Council, said:

“I’m delighted that the county council is able to commit this funding alongside NHS North Cumbria CCG, particularly on World Mental Health Day.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people in many ways, including their mental and emotional health and wellbeing. This scheme will support people to get help early, before a problem becomes a crisis, and that is so important.

“There are a range of local organisations with expertise in this area and who know their communities well. I’d really encourage them to make bids to the fund and I look forward to seeing their proposals.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are proud to be working in collaboration with NHS North Cumbria CCG and Cumbria County Council to help tackle health inequalities. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. As we head into winter, we will continue to see vulnerable people isolating for many more months, large rises in local unemployment and a continued impact on physical and mental wellbeing.

“Charities and community groups play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of thousands of people across Cumbria struggling with their mental health – and even more so at times of crisis.

“This extra funding comes at a critical time and will provide additional support for both adults and children affected by the pandemic.”

The fund can be accessed by third sector organisations in north Cumbria supporting people with anxiety and isolation and other mental health issues. It is also for organisations supporting those who have been bereaved. Bereavement during the pandemic often involved family and friends being unable to spend time with their loved ones followed by a limited funeral, making the loss especially difficult. Cumbria Community Foundation would welcome a conversation with groups before applying.

Currently there is also support for anyone aged 16 and over facing increased anxiety and other mental health challenges. NHS North Cumbria CCG commissioned Togetherall, an online service offering online peer-peer support, access to an anonymous community and lots of information, as well as courses and resources covering a range of mental health and wellbeing topics.

The service can be accessed online from anywhere, at any time. All people need to do is register with their postcode at:  The online service Kooth is available for young people aged 11-18 in Cumbria

The next generation show they #CanDo community support

Young people across West Cumbria have had their say in which projects they feel will make a difference in their communities.

The #CanDo project is part of Transforming West Cumbria and managed by Cumbria Community Foundation. It encourages young people to apply for funding for community projects. Those applications are then considered by a youth panel, putting the decisions firmly in the hands of the next generation.

The panel decided that Maryport and Solway Sea Cadets, Community Alcohol Partnership, Cumbria Youth Alliance and the Phoenix Youth Project should receive funding for their projects.

Emily Dixon, 16, who is part of the panel, said: “The panel was a great experience to be a part of. It was nice to be able to speak to people and share ideas even with the current circumstances. Everyone was really willing to get involved and all the ideas were very different.”

Between them they will tackle environmental pollution by installing a Seabin in Maryport Marina, support groups of young people as they tackle social issues in their communities, and help disadvantaged young people obtain a Level 2 qualification.

Sellafield Ltd’s Head of Community and Development, Gary McKeating, said: “Our new approach to social impact acknowledges that we do not have all of the answers, and that the people living in and working with our communities are best placed to identify projects that will make a difference.

“The fact that #Cando puts the identification of projects and the decision on what is funded in the hands of young people is, for me, one of the most exciting elements of the Transforming West Cumbria programme.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at “Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We believe that young people should be heard and have their views valued and acted upon. That’s why we recruited our first youth advisory committee. Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change – their involvement is crucial to the future of our communities. This group will bring expertise and a fresh pair of eyes to help us decide which projects are funded. I look forward to involving you people in our grant making in  future.”

You can find our more about the #Cando project here.  The next closing date is 20th November for the next round of grants on 16th December 2020.

First Transforming West Cumbria grants awarded

The first round of grants awarded under Transforming West Cumbria will benefit families across the West Cumbrian community.

Funded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact multiplied programme, Transforming West Cumbria has been developed by Cumbria Community Foundation, and focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.

Part of that programme is the Family Wellbeing scheme, which brought together representatives from the public, voluntary and health sector to ensure families are offered a package of support to improve their health, wellbeing, and happiness. The scheme awarded cash grants of up to £50,000 a year for 3 years to projects that work collaboratively and focus on improving outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families in West Cumbria.

Last week, a panel considered applications submitted under the Family Wellbeing programme and awarded £600,000 in grants that will help deliver six projects over the next three years. The difference made by these projects will be measured and evaluated.

The projects are:

Groundwork North East and Cumbria / iCan be HAPPY

The project will work in partnership with iCan Health & Fitness CIC and will engage with the most difficult to reach families in the community by designing a programme that is fun, positive, interactive and based on the types of support and activities that parents say they want. The programme will help parents to find ways of feeling happier and to learn more positive ways of doing things, which in turn will have a positive impact on their children.

Safety Net (UK) / Whole Family Approach to Tackling Domestic and Sexual Abuse

Safety Net (UK) will use their grant to employ a specialist Children and Young People’s Practitioner to work with families who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. The practitioner will provide training to parents and carers in play therapy techniques to offer therapeutic intervention and then provide supervision and guidance as families begin to navigate and resolve challenges.

Howgill Family Centre / Early Years Parental engagement

The ambition of this project is to develop a Centre of Excellence for Speech and Language Development in the earliest years, from 0 – 4 for disadvantaged children who are not reaching the standard level of development.

Time to Change West Cumbria / Family Court Support Officer & McKenzie Friend 

Time to Change West Cumbria will use their grant to employ a Family Court Support Officer, based at the Women Out West (WOW) Centre, who will also train as a McKenzie Friend, ensuring that vulnerable women and their children get the moral and administrative support they need when involved in the Court system.

Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS) / Targeted, in depth substance use support for affected families

Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service will attach a trained drug/alcohol coach to targeted families where substance use is known in the parents for a substantial period of time. Support given to the families will vary dependent on their specific needs.

Together We CIC / Together We Improve Family Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience

The project will deliver 6 weeks of group emotional resilience and physical activity sessions in Whitehaven area schools for children aged 4-11 years old. The sessions are designed to help children to further develop emotional literacy whilst developing knowledge of coping skills such as using physical activity for mental health

Barnardo’s / Barnardo’s Think Family project

The Barnardo’s Think Family project will support children 0-5 years old in Copeland identified through the Child Centred Policing Hub as needing intense support around emotional resilience, child development, childhood obesity and financial hardship. For 12 weeks, the family will take part in 2 direct work sessions per week that have been tailored to their needs and issues.

Head of community and development at Sellafield Ltd, Gary McKeating said: “Transforming West Cumbria is the perfect demonstration of our social impact multiplied programme. It was co-created with the Cumbria Community Foundation and is designed to help make a real and sustainable difference in tackling some of the issues that we know people in our local communities are living with.

“I am delighted that the Foundation team have been able to organise the grant application process and award grants so quickly and look forward to seeing the progress made by the successful projects.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “COVID-19 has brought existing inequalities to the fore and exacerbated issues within our communities. It poses a huge challenge for many families and for those on low income or grappling with multiple disadvantages, the pressure can lead to increased stress and tension within the family home.

“We are incredibly proud to be working with Sellafield and these multi-year awards will make a significant impact across the region. This level of strategic support will allow these groups to work together to deliver early intervention and essential support to help hundreds of our most vulnerable families reach their potential.”

For more information about Family Wellbeing and Transforming West Cumbria, visit

Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund: The First Six Months

The scale of financial help provided by Cumbria Community Foundation during the pandemic and lockdown is highlighted in a report published this week.

165 organisations have received 219 grants worth more than £1,450,000 with 58,000 vulnerable people helped, more than 10 per cent of the county’s population.

The Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17, exactly two weeks after the county recorded its first case of coronavirus and six days before the UK went into a national lockdown.

In the six months to the end of September, £1,714,224 has been raised as the Foundation met the challenge of a global health crisis unseen since the Spanish flu epidemic after the First World War.

The interactive report, titled Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund: The First Six Months, details the dozens of groups the Foundation has assisted, from stalwarts of the voluntary sector such as Meals on Wheels and mountain rescue teams to those set up specifically to deal with this unprecedented event.

Grants were often approved within a week of application and ranged from £100 for 5th Kendal Guides to £74,580 for Barrow Borough Community Resilience Forum.

It also gives a voice to the experiences of some of the organisations during lockdown including Ambleside Parish Centre, Cruse Cumbria and The Farmer Network.

And these changing times are documented pictorially by award-winning photographer Stuart Walker from the Thursday night Clap for Carers to the medical staff on shift in full PPE.

Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, remarks on how different the pandemic has been from the aftermath of Cumbria’s floods and that this crisis is far from over.

He writes: “Normally in a report like this, I would be able to say that the flood waters have gone away, the shops have reopened, most people are back in their homes, and hopefully it’s not going to happen again for a long time.

“But the impact of this pandemic, the needs generated and the fact it is national and global, and affects everyone in the community, the fact that the impacts of the recession have barely hit yet, means we find ourselves in a very different context.”

Among the charities highlighted in the report is Cumbria Meals on Wheels which faced both severe restrictions on providing its services and a serious financial shortfall.

“Lots of charities lost a lot of money throughout lockdown,” said project manager Trish Price. “We’re not here to make lots of money but we need to make enough to keep going. So many of us were just about existing and surviving.

“So suddenly when grants became available again it was like a light at the end of the tunnel. You could see it continuing, rather than just living from hand to mouth all the time.”

The grant came in the form of £10,000 to help Meals on Wheels keep going. It was used to kit out their new base in Shady Grove Road, Carlisle.

The report also reflects the respect and gratitude for the Foundation within Cumbria, summed up by one comment it received: “While other funders are still trying to decide the font for their application forms, the Foundation have turned it around and got the money out.”

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund has to date raised £1.7 million with funds donated by local businesses alongside donations from the National Emergencies Trust appeal and many individuals.

Cumbria Community Foundation is continuing to raise funds to help those who need support as a result of the pandemic – now and in the future. If you would like to donate, click here.

Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund: The First Six Months – to view the interactive elements, please save to your computer as a PDF, open the saved document and enable 3D content by going to: Edit > Preferences > 3D & Multimedia and then select the Enable playing 3D content checkbox.