Young Cumbrians benefit from new youth work initiative

24th March 2022

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