Charities in West Cumbria supported via Bedrock Awards

5th April 2022

Eight charitable groups in West Cumbria are planning for a sustainable future thanks to £880,000 of grant funding.

The money was awarded from the Bedrock Awards programme, part of Transforming West Cumbria, which was developed by Cumbria Community Foundation and funded by Sellafield Ltd, to build the resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability of charities and community organisations in West Cumbria.

Unlike a traditional grant, which would support “business as usual” or a new project, the Bedrock Awards is a two-stage programme that helps community groups plan for sustainability, development, and growth via a thorough analysis of opportunities for improvement.

The first round of awards has benefited critical organisations: Age UK West Cumbria, Cumbria Youth Alliance, Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service, Copeland Citizens Advice, Hospice at Home West Cumbria, Howgill Family Centre, Phoenix Enterprise Centre and Together We CIC.

Bedrock Awards enables organisations to explore new ways of working, including income generation, use of digital, collaboration, sharing resources and better management of community assets/premises while improving governance, building capacity and future proofing the organisation, through staff development, expert volunteer recruitment and clear succession planning.

One awardee said: “The Stage 1 Bedrock Award grant enabled us to increase staffing levels so we could commit time to the programme. It provided a breathing space that allowed us to fully commit to the process. However, grant or no grant, I would have taken part in the programme as I recognised the benefits of it. The grant just made it easier.”

Another commented: “The Stage 1 Bedrock Award process really helped bring the whole team on the transformational journey we are undertaking. We now have a much better understanding of the need to change, why and how.”

Sellafield Ltd understands the importance of organisational resilience and that often change is required at organisational level before resilience measures can be implemented or even engaged with. That’s why, further investment has been provided from the company’s social impact multiplied programme to run a second round of Bedrock Awards.

Tracey West, Social Impact Manager at Sellafield Ltd said: “The success from the first round of Bedrock has highlighted the need and the difference the project is making. The staged approach should help organisations to plan for the future and be more resilient so they can continue to offer the services that are so well received in our communities.

Bedrock Awards is delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation, in partnership with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership (CSEP) and its partner Social Enterprise Acumen CIC (SEA).

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at the Foundation, said: “SEA has worked with each awardee and bespoke strategies have been created. This has enabled the release of funding to help them plan-ahead and provide opportunities to invest in their business development. The funding is intended to deliver long-term benefit to each organisation, resulting in an increased ability to help a greater number of people more effectively and a more resilient organisation.

The Bedrock Awards programme is now open for a second round of funding. Stage 1 applications should be submitted by 5pm, Thursday 5th May 2022. Click here for more information.