Young people making a positive contribution to their communities

3rd May 2022

Two community projects, led by young people in West Cumbria, have received funding to benefit the communities where they live.

The #CanDo Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, provides grants of up to £5,000 to inspire youth social action, such as volunteering, fundraising, mentoring and campaigning.

Together We CIC and Wigton Youth Station run activities and workshops that encourage local young people to become more involved in their community and provide opportunities to gain new skills and experience different activities.

Together We received £5,000 to support its trial project called Discovery College. Teenagers from two Copeland secondary schools will be recruited to develop and design course materials to support young people’s mental health. The charity already runs the successful Recovery College, which supports people’s recovery from mental health difficulties through learning and education.

Samantha Joughin, Managing Director, Together We CIC, said: “Over the next year, we intend to develop an array of mental and physical health courses, which will be targeted at young people aged between 11-18. The ‘North Cumbria Discovery College’ will be an extension of the North Cumbria Recovery College, which currently delivers courses to 18+ all over North Cumbria.

“Recovery colleges give people with mental health problems a chance to access education and training designed to help them on the road to recovery. The aim is to learn new and build existing skills with the ultimate intention of teaching those participating how to better manage their physical and mental wellbeing.

“The funding provided by the #Cando Fund supports us to co-create and produce course materials directly with young people who have lived experience of mental health issues.”

Wigton Youth Station (WYS) received £3,545 to deliver a peer mentoring scheme which will provide an opportunity for a small group of young men to become peer mentors. The scheme will provide younger members with positive male role models and mentors as they grow and develop over the next couple of years.

Angela Bicknell, Centre Manager, said: “This grant will enable a small, dedicated group of young men who have been with us for four years or more, support and shape the behaviour of our younger members. They have taken ownership over this project and want to be a role model for others by leading by example. This is a legacy they will leave as they move on to college, work or an apprenticeship.”

Decisions on which projects receive funding are made by a Youth Advisory Panel made up of people aged between 16 and 25 from across West Cumbria, putting young people at the heart of the process.

Lauren Woodham, 17 who is a member of the #CanDo Youth Advisory Panel, said: “Being on the #CanDo Youth Panel is such an empowering position to have. It’s great to know that the decisions we make have a positive effect on young people in our local area!”

Funded by Sellafield Ltd, with match funding from Thomas Graham & Sons and local donors, #CanDo is part of Transforming West Cumbria, a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Stuart McCourt, Sellafield Ltd Education, Community and Development Lead, said:” Through our Six – Social Impact Multiplied programme, we want to support our local communities to thrive. The #Cando Fund enables this by empowering young people to lead change within their communities on the issues which are important to them.”

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Young people have so much energy, enthusiasm and passion for the world they live in and the causes they support, and by taking action on the issues that matter to them, they can leave a legacy for local people and places, while developing valuable personal skills that can really appeal to local businesses and employers, improving their life opportunities and prospects.”

The deadline for applications for the next round of #CanDo grants is Friday 27th May.

For more information or to apply visit, or call Annalee Holliday on 01900 820827 or email