Bedrock programme launched to help West Cumbrian charities thrive

9th December 2020

Charitable groups in West Cumbria are set to benefit from free organisational development support and advice, and access to funding to deliver long-term benefits.

Cumbria Community Foundation, in partnership with Sellafield Ltd, has designed and launched Bedrock, a new programme, which focuses on building the resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability of charities and community organisations in West Cumbria.

  1. Bedrock Awards – tailored package of business consultancy and funding, delivered over two stages, designed to develop, and implement improved ways of working for a small number of charitable organisations in West Cumbria
  2. Bedrock Basics – advice and support aimed at strengthening and building capacity of the community sector in West Cumbria, delivered by Cumbria CVS

Bedrock forms part of the initial three-year Transforming West Cumbria social investment programme. Funded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact multiplied programme, it focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.

Unlike a traditional grant, which would support “business as usual” or a new project, the Bedrock Awards will help community groups to plan for sustainability, development, and growth via a thorough analysis of opportunities for improvement.

Successful applicants will be offered a two-stage programme of tailored business support, together with funding awards, to enable participation and implementation. The Bedrock Awards are intended to deliver long-term benefit to each awardee, resulting in an increased ability to help a greater number of people more effectively and a more resilient organisation. Organisations interested in applying for a Bedrock Award should read the Bedrock Award criteria and contact Cumbria Community Foundation for an initial conversation, before submitting an Expression of Interest.

Cumbria CVS will deliver the Bedrock Basics element of the programme supporting community organisations in West Cumbria to develop and improve their governance, trustee recruitment and training, business planning, funding and volunteer recruitment processes. There will also be support for project monitoring and evaluation, digital skills, impact reporting, along with the opportunity to attend training and networking events. Organisations interested in taking part in the Bedrock Basics programme should contact Cumbria CVS for further information.

In addition, Cumbria Exchange will support organisations participating in the Bedrock programme to recruit skills-based volunteers.

Gary McKeating, Head of Community & Development at Sellafield Ltd said: “The Transforming West Cumbria programme is a new way of working for us. Based on the facts that were revealed in the West Cumbria Opportunities and Challenges report, together with the Foundation, we have developed a detailed suite of projects that incorporate working with well-established and knowledgeable delivery partners so we can address and change entrenched issues together.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There is a strong sense of community spirit in West Cumbria that is underpinned by an active and diverse Third Sector. However, we know that this is a difficult time for many community groups as the demand for their services increase, whilst funding levels fall. This is a situation that has been made all the more challenging by the current coronavirus crisis. Vulnerable people need their support now more than ever. It is vital that community organisations are supported to become more resilient and financially sustainable.

“The Bedrock programme will significantly invest in community organisations. Critically this support will enable them to deliver services, more efficiently and effectively to more people in need, helping West Cumbria’s communities become stronger, more resilient and thrive.”

Bedrock is delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation, in partnership with Cumbria CVS, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership and Cumbria Exchange.

Bridget Johns, District Manager – West at Cumbria CVS, said: “Cumbria CVS is delighted to be part of this partnership as the potential impact this programme can make is huge. Front line charities and community groups have gone above and beyond during the pandemic, adapting their services, and supporting more people without having the time to reflect about what they need to be sustainable and more efficient. Bedrock will allow them to do just that.”

The deadline for Bedrock Award expressions of interest is 8th January 2021. For more information, click here, and contact Gary Higgs, Grants & Donor Services Officer on 01900 825760 or by email

For more information about how to participate in Bedrock Basics, contact Bridget Johns at Cumbria CVS on 01768 800350 or by email: