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Young West Cumbrians called to join youth panel

Cumbria Community Foundation is looking for young people living in West Cumbria aged between 16-25 who are passionate about their community and making a difference, to join the 2022 #CanDo Youth Advisory Panel.

#CanDo encourages community organisations to apply for funding for community projects, led by young people. Those applications are then considered by a youth committee, putting the decisions firmly in the hands of the next generation. The committee have their say in which projects they feel will make a difference in their communities and should be supported.

This is the third round of recruitment for the youth advisory committee, which is made up of young people with a wide range of lived experiences and who are from different backgrounds and forms a crucial part of the Foundation’s grant making and helps steer its charitable work in a more youth-led direction.

Amie Todhunter, 22 from Whitehaven, said: The #CanDo youth committee is a great way to socialise and meet new people while also helping to fund important and necessary youth-led social action in West Cumbria. Meeting people with the same attitude and mindset has been really important as we’ve all come together from different areas and backgrounds to discuss significant ways to help groups create their own changes in their area.”

Toni-Anne Wardle, 19 from Whitehaven, said: “I have really enjoyed being on the #CanDo committee. It has strengthened my confidence and communication skills, I have learned the real value of funding and helping young people and organisations with their work.”

Over the past two years, the youth committee has awarded £98,128 in funding to 22 youth-led projects in West Cumbria, including Community Alcohol Partnership’s, Young Health Champions programme. This supported young people to achieve a Level 2 qualification which aims to give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to act as peer mentors to help young people to improve their health and wellbeing and understand unhealthy behaviours like alcohol misuse.

Funded by Sellafield Ltd as part of their SiX – Social Impact Multiplied programme, 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, Education, Community and Development Lead at Sellafield, said: “The #CanDo programme enables young people across West Cumbria to turn their ideas into reality and make a real difference in their communities. It is a programme where young peoples voices are heard and all the decisions are made by their peers.”

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are very excited to be offering this opportunity again to young people in West Cumbria. The #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee was launched in 2020 and has been very successful. We believe that young people should be heard and have their views valued and acted upon. Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change – their involvement is crucial to the future of our communities. The young people on the panel bring expertise and a fresh pair of eyes to help us decide which projects are funded.”

Applications to join the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee are open now and will close on Friday 14th October, 5pm.

For more information please download the #CANDO information pack

To apply please complete the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee Application Form.

For more information or to apply visit, www.cumbriafoundation.org/transforming-west-cumbria/cando or call Annalee Holliday on 01900 820827 or email annalee@cumbriafoundation.org

Ukrainian refugees latest to receive help from Cumbrian charity

Seven families fleeing terrible circumstances overseas have been helped by the generosity of strangers through Cumbria Community Foundation.

The charity’s Welcome Fund was established in 2017 to support refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Cumbria. It has now paid out more than £4,000 to help those most in need, with Ukraine families among the most recent beneficiaries.

Mum Nadia, Tanya, cousin Galya, nephews Ivan and Volodimyr and aunt Larisa

The Fund brings together donations from individuals and groups in the community, as well as businesses, charitable trusts and other organisations. The money is distributed in several ways, either as hardship grants to those who have moved to the county and have needs which are not covered by the Government, or to local community groups and partnerships who are providing a vast range of services and support, from the provision of essential items, to helping people settle into their new communities.

Tanya with daughter Katerina

According to Cumbria County Council figures, there are currently 244 Syrian and 137 Afghan refugees or asylum seekers in Cumbria, and more than 150 Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country. The Ukrainian figure is higher than this as there are various resettlement schemes taking place, not all of them facilitated by the County Council.

One of the Ukrainian families that has already benefited from the Welcome Fund is living in Newton Reigny, near Penrith. Tanya Mulholland has lived in the UK for 15 years since meeting her husband, David, two decades ago when she was a travel agent in Kyiv and he needed help to change his travel tickets.

Tanya with nephew

Seven members of her family travelled to safety here in April – her mum, aunt, sister and nephew, and cousin and her two sons all moved into their house after escaping Kyiv on a lengthy journey across Europe. Three male members of the family were left behind to fight with the Ukrainian army.

Tanya says: “I am so happy to have them here and safe though there are tears every day for those left behind. We are so grateful to everyone who has donated to the Welcome Fund. It was so easy to fill in the forms and everyone was really helpful.”

The family has received £1,000 from the Welcome Fund to pay for food and essentials, and they’ve also had advice from locals about school and college places for the youngsters here in Cumbria. Tanya added: “It has been a major help with just basic things, but also has helped my nephew study online so that he can take part in an emergency programme to complete his exams and finish his studies.”

Andy Beeforth, chief executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “As well as providing grants to families, the Foundation also funds the work of refugee support groups in Cumbria and we are working with them and other partners to assess the needs of people and families as they arrive in the county.”

“We are humbled by the generosity of communities that are supporting this fund and 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.”

The Welcome Fund supports all refugees and asylum seekers in Cumbria. For more information, or to donate, visit: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/welcome-fund/

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