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Cumbria VCFSE Sector Survey 2021

Cumbria Community Resilience Group, Cumbria Community Foundation, ACT, Cumbria CVS and the Cumbria Funders’ Network are working together to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector (VCFSE) organisations.

If you are a VCFSE organisation in Cumbria please help us understand what support you require beyond COVID-19 by completing the Cumbria VCFSE Sector Survey 2021 before the deadline of Monday 26th April 2021.

The information from this work will be used to:
• Help you recover and develop your local services, where we can
• Lobby on behalf of the sector on issues that matter to you
• Make sure the services and support we currently offer and are developing, are the right ones
• Inform future funding needs and programmes
• Help us tailor and plan our resources to meet the needs of the sector and inform the strategic priorities for our work at Cumbria Community Foundation, ACTion with communities in Cumbria and Cumbria CVS
• Inform the work of wider partners (for example councils and the NHS) involved in Cumbria’s recovery from the pandemic.

A series of themed ‘conversations’ with local VCFSE organisations will follow, shaped by the results of this survey so that we can work together to develop a deeper understanding of how we can address the identified needs and challenges.

If you have any questions about completing the survey please contact one of the following partners:
• Carolyn Otley, Cumbria Community Resilience Group, Email:
• Jozi Brown, Cumbria CVS, Email:
• Lorrainne Smyth, ACT, Email:
• Jenny Benson, Cumbria Community Foundation, Email:

Cumbria Community Foundation celebrates major milestone

Cumbria Community Foundation has recently hit a major milestone, having awarded £50 million to community organisations and individuals across the county since its founding in 1999.

This has seen thousands of grants distributed to a host of community causes, local charities, and development schemes that tackle key issues across the county.

The Foundation has granted almost £5 million in the last 12 months alone. £3 million of this has been awarded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 organisations received financial support for vital services including foodbanks, food and care packages for vulnerable people, telephone and online services plus projects to reduce isolation, emotional, mental health and financial hardship, as well as IT equipment for schoolchildren, and support to access benefits and debt advice.

L-R: David Beeby, Jacqui Currie, Andy Beeforth, Jenny Benson, Ellen Clements, Annalee Holliday

The Foundation reached this £50 million milestone with a £50,000 grant to Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden from the Pappagallino Fund. That grant is to be shared equally between the five citizens advice organisations across the county and will allow them to increase capacity and deal with increased demand by providing advice and information on a range of financial, legal and consumer issues.

CEO of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, Andy Auld, said: “This funding has enabled the Citizens Advice network in Cumbria to respond to the needs of local people by ensuring their services are accessible and safe for workers and clients. Local Citizens Advice have also used this funding to recruit, train and support additional workers to deliver advice to vulnerable people across the county. Cumbria Community Foundation has once again risen to the challenge and been there to support charities when they most need it.”

Launched in 1999 with a founding donation of £1 million from British Nuclear Fuels Limited, now Sellafield Ltd, and the support of all seven local authorities within the county, the Foundation is one of the UK’s leading, accredited Community Foundations, and has worked with hundreds of families, businesses and charitable trusts over the past two decades.

John Fryer-Spedding CBE DL was instrumental in establishing the Foundation in 1999. Almost 22 years later, the Foundation has more than 100 active grant-making funds with a total of more than £23 million held on endowment. The income from those endowment funds will mean that the communities of Cumbria will be supported for many years to come.

John, who was a founding trustee, said: “In 1997, my wife Clare and I invited a number of people to a steering group to assess the prospects for a community foundation for Cumbria. We had no idea then that such a foundation could be making grants on the scale it does today. But we were confident that we could find the basic elements: good trustees and staff and some generous donors. And there is a fourth element, which has contributed to the success of our Foundation, ably led by Andy from the start. In Cumbria we have vibrant local communities from Barrow to Bewcastle, and from Alston to Millom, which are second to none. These well deserve the great support which our Foundation has been able to give to them.”

Since its inception, the charity has put the community at the heart of its giving, helping hundreds of thousands of people. Three charities are among those to praise the Foundation on reaching its milestone.

Ruth Jeffcoate, Funding Officer at Carlisle Youth Zone, said: “At Carlisle Youth Zone we pride ourselves on having our finger on the pulse of what the young people of Cumbria need to reach their full potential. Cumbria Community Foundation always gets the bigger picture and has the knowledge and understanding needed to know just how to support us where it really counts.”

Mike Messenger, Operations Manager of Maryport Inshore Rescue, said: “It has supported us on many occasions over the past decade, the organisation and its staff and all the companies that donate to make it all happen are a credit to Cumbria. We would not be where we are today without the help of the foundation. The people who receive the grants can then go on to help others which is fantastic. Well done for reaching such a great milestone.”

Vanessa Dixon, CEO of The Birchall Trust in Barrow, said: “Huge congratulations to Cumbria Community Foundation on meeting this landmark. The Birchall Trust has received support from the Foundation over a number of years and we are proud to have been able to deliver services to some of the most vulnerable people in Cumbria because of this support. The past year has been exceptionally hard, and your support was never needed so much – here’s to the next landmark.”

L-R: Andy Beeforth, Jacqui Currie, Ellen Clements, Jenny Benson, David Beeby, Annalee Holliday

Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth who has been at the helm since the very beginning, said: “This is a celebration of the kindness and generosity of the people who have chosen to give through the Community Foundation. The £50 million represents so many different stories of people being helped and significant moments in the life of Cumbria’s communities over the past 21 years. From hardship grants to stonewallers during the 2001 Foot & Mouth outbreak, a group of young people from Whitehaven travelling abroad for the first time visiting New York, and food parcels delivered to the elderly and vulnerable during the pandemic.”

“It has been an incredible year for the Foundation and it’s great to look back and reflect on the amazing work that our funds have contributed to. To see the direct impact our grants are having on local areas is the biggest motivating factor for both myself and the team; we’ve all been working so hard and so to be able to reach this momentous milestone together is something that I truly treasure.”

President of the Foundation and Lord-Lieutenant, Claire Hensman, said: “My thanks to all those working and volunteering for the Foundation, but also to everyone who, through their donations, has contributed to the £50m of grant making. The Foundation has built an outstanding reputation for knowledge of local communities in every corner of Cumbria, targeting grants to great effect. We can be especially proud of the speed of response in meeting needs in emergencies; the pandemic is just the latest example. I don’t know where we would be now without the Foundation and those who donate to it.”

Andy added: “We couldn’t have reached this amazing figure of £50 million without the support and generosity of our fundholders and supporters, for which we are very grateful. We hope over the next few years that more people who have the means to give back will come forward and help us in our mission of furthering a fair, caring and vibrant Cumbria.”

If you would like to know more about how you can support your local community or a cause you care about, contact Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive on 01900 825760 or email

Goodbye to long serving Trustees and a big welcome to our new Board members

We would like to say goodbye to our Trustees Adam Naylor and Cath Giel who have completed their nine years on the Cumbria Community Foundation board. During their time that have played a vital role in the Foundation’s work. We would like to say a massive thank you for their hard work and continuous support.

Cath who is also chair of our West Cumbria Grants Panel said: “Thank you to the Foundation team for the work they do in support of our communities and for the support I have received during my tenure. They have always been responsive and are a pleasure to deal with.”

Alex Scott

We’d like to welcome two new members to the Foundation board, Adam Hearnden and Alex Scott. Alex said: “I’ve seen the Foundation grow from its inception and have always been impressed by everything I’ve witnessed. I’ve spent much of my professional career away from Cumbria but have always known my roots are here. This is a special place with distinctive characteristics and I hope I can make a valuable contribution to the work of the Foundation.”

‘Voices from the Frontline’- Exploring the challenges and future for Cumbria’s young people

We very much hope you are able to join us online for our next in the series of ‘Voices from the Frontline’- Exploring the challenges and future for Cumbria’s young people.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021 at 4pm

During this event, you will hear directly from young people, learn more about our current work and how our response to the pandemic is supporting the younger generation. Join us online where we will hear from:

• Andy Slattery, Assistant Chief Constable and Chair of the Cumbria COVID-19 Strategic Coordination Group.

• Paul Rowe from The Phoenix Youth Project.

• A group of young people who will talk about their Covid-19 experiences.

• Judith Schafer, Head Teacher and Chair of Cumbria Alliance of System Leaders (CASL).

• David Beeby, Chair of Trustees and High Sheriff elect of Cumbria.

Please confirm your places as soon as possible with

More grants made to north Cumbrian charities supporting those struggling with the impact of the covid pandemic

A charitable fund set up to support those struggling to cope in north Cumbria has made more grants.

The £180,000 Psychological Support Fund was created by the NHS in north Cumbria and Cumbria County Council and is held by Cumbria Community Foundation.

It has supported bids which demonstrate a collaborative approach to tackle the impact of anxiety, isolation, and bereavement, which have become more challenging during covid.

Five were confirmed in early November and since then a further nine grants have been awarded. They are:

  • Every Life Matters – £6,600 – to expand suicide bereavement support in west Cumbria and £3,409 for self-harm safe kits across north Cumbria
  • Child bereavement UK – £22,564 – bereavement support practitioner for the county
  • Hospice at Home West Cumbria – £10,000 – new services
  • Cruse Bereavement Care £3,090 – training for new and existing bereavement volunteers in Carlisle and Allerdale
  • Outreach Cumbria – £15,000 for the Talk-It-Out project for Allerdale and Carlisle
  • Always Another Way – £12,000 for alternative and complementary therapies support worker in west Cumbria
  • Spiral – £15,446 – volunteer training to support young people affected by bullying in Cumbria
  • The Laurie Brewis Trust – £3,190 – supporting disabled young people’s mental health as they transition from youth into adult services in Carlisle and Eden

Peter Rooney, chief operating officer for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know the impact of covid on people’s mental health has been enormous. We have experienced a period of increased isolation, and we know for those that have lost family members and friends during this restrictions it has been hard to say good bye in the way we are used to. I’m delighted to see such a range of organisations working closely with people in our communities are being supported to keep up, and extend, that valuable work.”

Cllr Patricia Bell, Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services for Cumbria County Council, said: “When we agreed this project it was funding precisely this sort of local support that we had in mind. Covid has had, and continues to have, a real impact on people in our communities in many ways. These organisations provide a wide range of different services that make a real difference for people in these challenging times.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “The speed, agility and responsiveness of local charitable organisations in responding to issues exacerbated by the pandemic has been inspirational but the challenge facing them, and communities they serve, is immense. Thanks to this partnership between the Foundation, the NHS and Cumbria County Council, we have been able to award vital grants to projects that are really trying to improve mental health for people in their communities, while reducing pressures on the NHS.”

Derek Kirkaldy, Senior Trusts and Grants Fundraiser at Child Bereavement UK said: “Bereavement can often feel isolating for young people even without lockdown or a pandemic. Being able to meet with a Bereavement Support Practitioner and access group support virtually during this time has been invaluable for many young people in terms of not just grief, but coping with the pandemic. We have been able to support siblings who live apart by providing shared support sessions, which has been very helpful to families who want support together but cannot be physically together at this time, including pre-bereavement support.”

Debbie Wood, Trans & Talking Therapies Lead at Outreach Cumbria said: “We are very grateful for the grant as this will allow us to expand the psychotherapeutic support we offer to LGBT people in the north Cumbria. This is important given that LGBT people experience difficulties associated with being ‘different’ which have been shown to result in significantly more mental health problems than the general population, and which are not always well catered for in more generic statutory services. These difficulties have been further exacerbated by successive lockdowns which cut people off from their support networks and leave people stranded in unsupportive or even abusive environments. We intend to use this grant to assist our community in the short term, and to demonstrate the need for longer-term specialist support to be funded going forward.”

Andrea Sales, Organisational Manager at Always Another Way said: “We have so far received 20 referrals from a range of sources including health coaches, social prescribers, schools and health visitors. Clients are struggling with social isolation, changing dynamics with parent/child relationships due to lockdowns and lack of emotional support from outside of the family, all of which has a negative impact on mental health. We offer weekly support face to face, over the telephone and virtually. The majority of these tend to last at least an hour as individuals are really feeling the need to talk during such difficult times. We are aiming to increase referrals for under 18s and to provide group work interventions for all age groups.

There is also support for anyone aged 16 and over facing increased anxiety and other mental health challenges via 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 support service Kooth is available for young people aged 11-18 in Cumbria

New fund to help people get to vaccine hubs in north Cumbria

A new fund to help small organisations helping people travel to vaccine hubs is now available in north Cumbria.

NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group has provided £10,000 for small grants up to £500 to enable grassroots organisations to help people travel to receive their covid vaccine.

The money is held by Cumbria Community Foundation and is intended to support costs, including mileage for volunteer drivers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for those volunteers.

Peter Rooney from the CCG said: “Because of the logistical and clinical issues around handling the vaccine and the need to vaccinate many people quickly our GPs have been working together in groups called Primary Care Networks largely operating out of hubs. This can make it difficult for some people to travel to these hubs and we absolutely don’t want people to be disadvantaged because of that.

“In Cumbria there is a strong history of groups meeting transport needs in our communities and we want to support them to be effective at this very challenging time.”

Dr Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “These small grants can make a real difference to these organisations who we know are best placed to help their own community. It means they can buy PPE to support their drivers and ensure costs are covered when there are strict rules about the numbers of people travelling because of covid restrictions.”

Charitable organisations in Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle and Eden can apply to support drivers who are voluntarily supporting the vaccination rollout by transporting patients to their nearest vaccination hub. For more information and to apply, visit: