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High Sheriff celebrates county’s charities – and the people behind them

High Sheriff of Cumbria, David Beeby, welcomed people from around the county to an award ceremony recognising their tireless efforts to enhance and enrich the places where they live.

Individuals, community and voluntary-led groups, who often go unrecognised for their outstanding efforts, came together on Monday 21st March to celebrate their achievements and receive recognition and awards from the High Sheriff.

The awards are part of the High Sheriff’s Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, and publicly recognise both charities and individual volunteers who help improve their communities.

Representatives from 15 organisations have been invited to attend the ceremony at Rose Castle in recognition of their service. The High Sheriff will hand out certificates and issue three recipients with the prestigious High Sheriff’s Shield.

Ending his shrieval year with a celebration, David said: “It has been a real privilege to visit well over one hundred organisations across Cumbria and to meet so many staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. All of them are making a real difference to so many people and to their communities.

“It was lovely to be together in person in the magical surroundings of Rose Castle to celebrate the achievements of some of these wonderful organisations.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are an extraordinary number of voluntary and non-profit organisations working at the heart of our communities, and this is an opportunity for some of them to receive the recognition and support they deserve.”

The High Sheriff is one of the oldest Crown Offices, dating back to before the Battle of Hastings. As the Sheriff’s powers increased, they were considered to be a threat and in 1540 Henry VIII created Lord Lieutenants to take over the military duties. To this day, both the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff are appointed by the Sovereign with the High Sheriff retaining an historical relationship with law and order and taking an active part in supporting and promoting voluntary organisations.

List of winners:


The Community Chef Project

Youthability Youth Services

Cumbria Rape & Sexual Violence Partnership


1st Wigton Baden-Powell Scouts

Dalton Community Association

The Bee Team

Millom Network Centre Ltd

Distington Club for Young People

Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs

Maryport and Solway Sea Cadets

West Cumbria Refugee Support Network

Carlisle Key

Alston Landscape Art Town Initiative

Citizens in Policing

Carlisle court staff

Young Cumbrians benefit from new youth work initiative

Youth organisations across Cumbria are celebrating after being awarded almost half a million pounds to encourage more people into the youth work sector and improve access to services for young people across the county.

The funding from the Better Tomorrows programme has been invested in an accredited youth work training scheme and universal youth work services, especially in deprived and isolated areas of the county.

Better Tomorrows, a three-year programme, is managed by Cumbria Community Foundation. The grants provide accredited training to volunteers and youth workers as well as funding community organisations just setting up or providing new youth work opportunities for local people.

Nine organisations received funding to provide more youth work sessions, and all play a crucial role helping many young people to achieve their full potential.

Spearheaded by David Beeby, High Sheriff of Cumbria 2021-22 and Cumbria Community Foundation Chairman, Better Tomorrows has now raised more than £1 million and works in partnership with many local funders and supporters, including Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cumbria and the Four Acre Trust.

Cumbria Youth Alliance is managing the accredited youth work training to increase the number of qualified youth workers across the county, ensuring more young people become confident, resilient and optimistic for the future.

Becky Wolstenholme, CEO of Cumbria Youth Alliance, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be a partner organisation with the Better Tomorrows programme. It is important especially after coming out of the pandemic and with the increased complexities of young people, that adults and volunteers in local communities are provided with the skills and training to support young people.”

Women’s Community Matters in Barrow received just under £44,000 to employ a full-time youth worker over three years. Rebecca Robson, Senior Officer, said: “We are over the moon with this grant. It will mean we can train and employ an additional youth worker to support young people in our area. The youth worker has been chosen by the young people they support and is a fabulous addition to the team.”

Longtown Memorial Hall and Community Centre Youth Club received £21,828 to increase the number of youth work sessions being delivered. Nigel Williamson, Manager, said: “This three-year grant gives us a chance to plan longer term. The great advantage of our sessions is that it allows young people to come together in a familiar setting in their own community, which is not the same as going to school. The training provides a great opportunity to learn and invest in our young people.”

Shackles Off Youth Project, based in Millom, received £27,028. Rachel Thomson, Youth Work manager, said: “This funding will help us deliver high quality youth work and the extra youth worker will mean more young people will have access to our sessions.”

Keswick Youth Centre Services (KYCS) received £24,991 to employ employ a rural youth worker to support junior members through the transition from primary school to the much larger Keswick School.

Phill Roberts, Chair of KYCS, said: “ The Better Tomorrows Fund has provided an opportunity for us to employ the first rural youth worker in Keswick in many years.

“The trustees are very pleased to welcome Rachel Philips to our team as our first employed Youth Worker. Rachel has been one of our volunteer Youth Workers for some time and her commitment and passion for working with our young members and her volunteer colleagues is clear for all to see.”

Other youth groups to receive funding include Aspatria Dreamscheme, CandoFM Community Radio and Multicultural Cumbria.

David Beeby said: “I set this programme up with the clear objective of giving more young people in Cumbria access to quality youth work. To see the Better Tomorrows programme really getting underway with funding of youth work training over the next three years and also youth work salaries to a number of settings around the county is just fantastic. This couldn’t be done without the generosity of many organisations and individuals in supporting this exciting and much needed investment in our young people. Thank you to everyone who has donated. The reality is that the more money we get the more we can support so if any organisation or individual would like to help, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

Better Tomorrows is being evaluated by the University of Cumbria to evidence the impact of the training and subsequent support to young people.

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

To apply to the Better Tomorrows Fund, contact Annalee Holliday at Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 820827 or email

Ukrainian refugees to benefit from Cumbrian Welcome Fund  

Cumbrians are being invited to donate to a support fund for refugees arriving in the county after fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Money donated to the Welcome Fund will be available to community groups supporting refugees and refugees coming to Cumbria from Ukraine to ensure they get the support they need to adapt to their new life in Cumbria.

As the county prepares for its first arrivals from Ukraine, many locals are keen to support them but may be unsure how.

One way to make an effective difference is to contribute to the Welcome Fund, says Cumbria Community Foundation, which distributes grants in support of people in need.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said: “We want to make people aware that the Welcome Fund exists as an established means of supporting refugees in the county.

“We know that as Ukrainians settle in Cumbria, they are going to need a lot of support and the communities and groups offering them homes will need to access funds to help them.

“We are getting donors and supporters asking what they can do to help people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, and we are receiving information about the emerging need to ensure we are can adequately support them here in Cumbria.”

The Welcome Fund supports all refugees in Cumbria, not just those coming from Ukraine. It is open to donations from the public and proceeds from fundraising events, as well as from the Foundation’s regular donors.

More than 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24. Many have escaped artillery bombardment with just a few belongings, and most are women and children, and men and women over the age of 60.

More than 150,000 people in the UK have offered accommodation to Ukrainian refugees under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. But once they are settled in a room, they will need more help.

The Welcome Fund ensures that support is co-ordinated so that it provides the maximum benefit possible, said Andy.

Past examples of help given in Cumbria include providing essential items for refugees and asylum seekers and support with community integration as well as training in welcoming people.

“The Foundation already supports the work of refugee support groups in Cumbria and will be working with them and other partners to assess the needs of people and families as they arrive in the county,” said Andy.

He added: “We understand that many Cumbrian families are facing their own challenges as the cost of living increases and that not everyone is in a position to help.

“Cumbria Community Foundation exists for all the people in Cumbria and has other funds to help people facing issues, such as those struggling to heat their homes.”

Retired Carlisle firefighter Andy Bezuszko, 65, who has family in Ukraine, says the refugees will need help to adjust when they reach Cumbria.

“Getting a room is just the start of it,” he said. “I think many of them will arrive with just a bag. Although many I imagine will speak English, or basic English, they will need help with language so they can make connections with the local community. Depending on where they stay, they will need help with transport.”

He added: “The generosity of local people has been amazing, so many people have already donated money and goods to Ukraine.  The generosity of British people is never in doubt, and I think we will keep needing it now.”

Andy’s late father came to Cumbria as a displaced person aged 22 after the Second World War. “My father never saw his parents again. But he had many happy years here,” he said.

Money can be donated to the Welcome Fund here: 

You can download the Welcome Fund fundraising guide here.

Cumbria volunteering scheme gets £10,000 boost

“Someone Like Me” is an exciting three-year project designed to enable people with disabilities to fulfil their potential as volunteers, harnessing the unique contribution that they can bring to outdoor adventure activities.

This exciting project by Cumbria based charity, Bendrigg Trust, has been generously supported with a £10,000 grant from Cumbria Community Foundation through a number of their Trust funds including Holehird Trust.

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants, Programmes & Communications Officer Cumbria Community Foundation said:“Bendrigg Trust do a wonderful job helping people with disabilities reach their full potential. Like many organisations in the voluntary sector, Bendrigg Trust is playing an important role helping people connect in their local community. We are very thankful to our fundholders for their generosity in funding this new initiative that we believe can play a big part in making life better for people with disabilities in our area.”

Traditionally, Bendrigg has drawn on the skills and commitment of the local Cumbrian community to offer an exemplary and inclusive approach to volunteering. However, there remains in society today a lack of recognition for the contribution that people with disabilities can bring to volunteering, as noted by the Olympic/Paralympic movement: “people with disabilities are often the recipients of volunteer services but are rarely considered as a potential volunteer resource”.

The “Someone like Me Project” aims to support 40 people each year who have disabilities/additional support needs to participate as volunteers at Bendrigg, in turn enabling 3,000+ others to access the charity’s services. Volunteers will be involved in a wide range of activities from delivery of Bendrigg’s accessible activity breaks; grounds maintenance/environmental projects; marketing/fundraising; office administration; to catering/hospitality roles.

Nick Liley, Bendrigg Principal said:”We are immensely grateful to Cumbria Community Foundation for its invaluable support for Bendrigg Trust’s pioneering volunteering programme.  The work of the Foundation and the generosity of the Trusts involved (in particular, The Roselands Trust, The Edmond Castle Educational Trust, The Catherine Alexander Grassroots Fund and The Holehird Trust Fund) are truly inspiring and offer our new project, “Someone like Me”, strong foundations from which to grow.  The project will provide opportunities for many more people with disabilities in our local communities to volunteer in the great outdoors which is tremendous news.  Our sincere thanks to all involved in supporting this important venture.”

If you’d like to apply to volunteer at Bendrigg Trust can do so on their website here: where there is also more information about the volunteering opportunities available.

£20,000 community fund launched by kind hearted housebuilders

Communities across Cumbria will benefit to the tune of £20,000 thanks to the generosity of local housebuilders.

Charitable and not-for-profit organisations throughout the county will be able to apply for their share of the annual £20,000 pot provided by Penrith-based Genesis Homes and its sister company Russell Armer Homes.

The fund, run in conjunction with Cumbria Community Foundation, has been created by the homebuilders to show their gratitude and ongoing support for the areas the companies build new developments in.

Genesis Homes was founded in 2017 by Managing Director Nicky Gordon, and the company has completed a number of housing developments in the north of Cumbria. Last year, the business acquired Russell Armer, which was established 60 years ago to construct new homes in South Cumbria and Lancashire.

Group Marketing Executive Katy Aris said: “We are really passionate about giving something back to the communities we serve, and what better way than to give organisations a real financial boost which will make a huge difference?

“We want to have a positive impact throughout our great county, because we all live and work here ourselves, and it is a great feeling to be able to support worthy causes.

“This is our way of saying a huge thank you for the incredible support of the local communities that have welcomed us with open arms. The ethos of Genesis Homes and Russell Armer Homes is to give something back wherever possible, and we couldn’t be prouder to be able to provide such a financial boost to Cumbria.”

The fund is managed by Cumbria Community Foundation and supports community-related environmental and educational activities run by local charitable groups that benefit communities in Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle, Eden and South Lakeland. An organisation can apply for a grant up to the value of £3,000.

Grants can be awarded for costs and activities, including equipment, running costs for local groups, staff or sessional worker costs and environmental improvements to community facilities.

Group Managing Director Nicky Gordon said: “We know there are so many outstanding organisations out there that have a positive impact on the people in their community on a daily basis, and we are humbled to see how kind hearted and caring volunteers in the county truly are.

“It will be an absolute privilege to play our part in helping these great causes prosper and provide more vital support to so many local people. We can’t wait to find out more about these wonderful, inspirational organisations.”

Cumbria Community Foundation has been running for 22 years and has awarded more than £50 million in grants to groups and individuals across the county, and is delighted to be working with Genesis Homes and Russell Armer Homes.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants and Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said: “We have worked with Russell Armer Homes since 2008 helping to distribute their charitable giving to more than 30 community projects.

“This new partnership and additional funding is a great boost and means we can continue to support local community groups and initiatives that make a big difference to the lives of those in genuine need.”

For more information on the fund, or to apply online, visit You can also call the grants team on 01900 825760.




From left, Genesis Homes and Russell Armer Homes Marketing Executive Katy Aris, Purchase Ledger Administrator Judith Wills and Managing Director Nicky Gordon.