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Grants available to support ambitious young people in West Cumbria

 Charitable groups and community projects in West Cumbria area are being encouraged to apply for funding of up to £5,000 from the #CanDo Fund.

Cumbria Community Foundation manages over a hundred grant making funds and awards on average £2 million a year to community organisations.

#CanDo aims to support the ambition of developing a lifetime commitment to social action and increase the number of opportunities for young people (aged between 10 and 20, and up to 25 for disabled young people) in West Cumbria to volunteer, fundraise, or campaign on issues that are important to them, with a commitment to reducing the social and financial barriers that stop some young people from taking part in social action.

Funded by Sellafield Ltd, with match funding from Thomas Graham & Sons and local donors, #CanDo is part of Transforming West Cumbria, a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

#CanDo will raise young people’s aspirations and build their confidence by:

  • engaging young people in meaningful social and environmental action
  • empowering young people from disadvantaged communities to volunteer, lead change and take action in their communities
  • encouraging young people to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local community
  • enabling young people to make a huge difference to improving their community and local environment

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at “Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change – their involvement is crucial to the future of our communities. This funding aims to develop opportunities rather than fund the ongoing costs of existing youth work. We are looking to fund organisations that involve young people in volunteering, campaigning and fundraising activities.”

The closing date for the first round of funding is 10th September 2021. For more information about, visit

A better tomorrow for young Cumbrians

 David Beeby, High Sheriff of Cumbria, launches a new initiative to mark International Youth Day.

Better Tomorrows is a three-year programme encouraging people within Cumbria to become accredited in youth work and substantially increase the number of young people having access to support from youth workers to help them reach their full potential.

This unique initiative will provide accredited training to more than a hundred people as well as offer grants of up to £25,000 to community organisations setting up or providing new youth work opportunities for local people.

David said: “Many young people have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic and are facing unprecedented challenges caused by interrupted education, uncertainty about the future and anxiety exacerbated by increases in poverty and family ill health.

“High-quality youth work has a crucial role to play helping many young people to achieve their full potential. Through participation in youth work, young people gain confidence and competence, develop self-assurance, and have the opportunity to establish high expectations and aspirations for themselves.

“Despite the critical role that youth work plays in a young person’s life, youth work is not a statutory responsibility for local authorities. As money has diminished, funding that previously supported youth workers through qualifications and training has also reduced. There are still areas in Cumbria without any youth provision. That’s why I decided to launch Better Tomorrows.”

Although spearheaded by David, Better Tomorrows works in partnership with Cumbria Youth Alliance and local funders Cumbria Community Foundation and Francis C Scott Charitable Trust who have also invested into the programme.

CEO of Cumbria Youth Alliance, Becky Wolstenholme, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be a partner organisation with the Better Tomorrows programme. Building solid platforms by supporting and offering training to vital youth organisations that will be delivering now, more than ever, essential services to enable young people to reach their full potential.”

Better Tomorrows aims to invest at least £900,000 over the next three years into quality youth work training and provision. David has personally committed a significant amount to the programme and has secured match funding from national funder, the Four Acre Trust, meaning any additional donations will be matched pound for pound.

John Bothamley CBE, Chairman of Four Acre Trust, said: “Four Acre Trust is pleased to support this great initiative to train and support more youth workers across Cumbria. The future of our country relies on our children; we have a duty to give them all the best start in life and this is why we are offering to match, pound for pound, donations from new donors.”

“The programme has been designed to be scalable,” said David. “The more donations we receive, the more people we’ll be able to support, not just through accredited training, but also quality youth work provision.”

Donations have also been received from local businesses including LLWR and individual supporters. David is delighted to have received so much encouraging support.

Cath Giel, Director of Communications & Stakeholder Relations at LLWR, said: “This targeted initiative to support young people across Cumbria is well-timed to meet a pressing need, given the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

“Better Tomorrows’ will address the shortage in the provision of trained youth workers across the county, equipping a new generation to reach out and support our young people, building a sustainable model that will continue to deliver long after this programme has ended.”

International Youth Day is celebrated annually on 12th August to bring youth issues to the international community’s attention and celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.

David is looking to raise a further £200,000 to reach his target. “We’ve never needed youth work more and it’s never been more important to collaborate and align our activities to work with young people. It is so important that we support young people to be ambitious about their future to achieve better tomorrows,” he said.

For more information or to donate, visit: or email David on



Good causes in Furness making a real difference to communities

More than £100,000 has been awarded to a range of good causes in the Furness area, including combating loneliness, helping people recover from debt, and providing activities for young people.

Cumbria Community Foundation awarded just under £104,000 at its recent Furness Grants Committee to 12 community organisations, with two people receiving a share of £3,500 to increase sporting and artistic achievement.

The money came from funds set up by local people and businesses including the Barrow Community Trust Fund, the Cumbria Young People’s Fund and the Kirkby Moor Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

Helping to relieve loneliness in the community, Age UK Barrow and District received £10,000 from the Pappagallino Fund to relaunch its community-based social groups and activities, which were forced to stop during the pandemic.

The charity offers a range of services for the elderly including sessions for those who have very limited interaction with family and friends in rural areas.

Vickie Martin, Head of Age UK Barrow & District, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding. Lockdown has affected older people significantly and many people have struggled with their mental and physical health throughout the pandemic. By relaunching social groups and gentle exercise sessions, it will help people to improve their physical health and mobility and start to reconnect with friends in a social setting, helping to improve the impact that isolation and loneliness has had on so many people during the last 18 months.”

Age UK Barrow and District also received a further £20,000 to continue running its befriending service.

Youthability Youth Services & Walney Community Centre is a new initiative set up to provide support to young people who are socially isolated, particularly those with disabilities.

£5,000 from the Cumbria Young People’s Fund will provide a wide range of activities and support children and young people with special educational needs.  Specialist youth workers take each person’s situation and work closely with them and their families to accommodate their needs and aspirations.

The Youthability project was delivered by charity, Leonard Cheshire for 15 years, however, due to funding issues, they took the decision to cease operating. Rather than allow the service to disappear, this new partnership was formed to ensure that young people with disabilities in the area are supported.

Leslie McLeese, Senior Youth worker & Centre Manager, said: “We are so grateful for the support that Cumbria Community Foundation has given us on our new journey.

“The grant will enable us to carry on supporting young people with special educational needs on their social and emotional journey to adulthood. Community is at the heart of everything we do, and this grant will also go a long way in enabling us to provide an accessible community hub.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large and persistent economic impact on people, causing more people to fall into debt. Spring Mount Christian Fellowship received £27,000 from the Cumbria Fund and the Cumberland Building Society Community Fund to help people struggling to control their finances over the next three years. Its CAP Barrow project offers a life skills course and money courses and debt Help. CAP Debt Help helps people who need counselling on how to escape from problem debt and usually involves home visits, building up a relationship to see if there is anything else they can help with.

CAP is a Christian debt charity that amalgamates people’s debts into one lump sum to be paid off per month with additional assistance for dealing with debt collectors and more.

In 2019, CAP Barrow saw 26 new clients in addition to working with existing families. A total of 14 people were helped to go “debt-free.” The charity pays a subscription to CAP central to help finance the expert financial services and support provided by the charity’s centralised services to local debt centres.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these worthy organisations in the Furness area that are working hard during these difficult times to meet local needs.”

For more information about Cumbria Community Foundation, how to support local charities through them or to apply for a grant, call a member of the team on 01900 825760.