Good causes in Furness making a real difference to communities

11th August 2021

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.