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

9th March 2021

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