A better tomorrow for young Cumbrians

12th August 2021

 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: www.cumbriafoundation.org/better-tomorrows or email David on hscumbria21@btinternet.com