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Digital grants available to good causes

West Cumbrian charities and community groups are being encouraged to apply for funding to invest in digital solutions.

The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for organisations to explore how digital approaches can be used to create more impact for the people they work with.

Bedrock Digital has been created to help charitable groups carry out their work in a more efficient and effective way, resulting in positive social benefit.

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, grants will normally be up to £5,000 and the fund will prioritise organisations that alleviate poverty and disadvantage and projects that are addressing needs identified in the Foundation’s West Cumbria Opportunities and Challenges report.

Free expert advice and guidance from Charity Technology is also available to help groups examine whether a digital solution is the best idea, explore alternative solutions and identify any implications of implementing a new solution.

Bedrock Digital is part of Transforming West Cumbria (TWC) which is funded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact multiplied programme SiX. This social investment programme has been developed in partnership with Cumbria Community Foundation and focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.

Gary McKeating, Head of Community & Development at Sellafield Ltd, said: “The pandemic has pushed charities and community groups to work differently so they could continue to offer their vital services. In some cases the IT was not ideal to make the most of it. This offer of advice and grant funding should help to improve their IT systems and enable them to work more efficiently.”

A recent grant to Whitehaven, Egremont & District Credit Union (WEDCU) supported the implementation of a new hybrid banking platform to provide more flexibility and a greater range of online and digital services.

Andrea Dockeray, Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the grant as this investment is much more than an IT upgrade; we see this as a digital transformation making a critical contribution to our sustainability and growth going forward”.

Applications can be made at any time and will be considered at the quarterly grants committee meetings held in September, December, March and June. However, groups are encouraged to access initial free support for their digital developments prior to applying by contacting, Kevin Beynon at Charity Technology.

Kevin said: “I’m excited to be working with Cumbria Community Foundation on Bedrock Digital to support organisations and groups in Allerdale and in Copeland, where I live. The funding from Sellafield Ltd will help us deliver advice, support and training to voluntary and community groups, and social enterprises in West Cumbria, and ensure they benefit from the digital tools and skills they need to support their communities.”

Visit https://charitytechnology.co.uk/bedrockdigital to signup for initial free support.

If you would like to know more about this fund, please contact: Lisa Blackwell on 01900 820827 or email lisa@cumbriafoundation.org

 

New fund to support disabled people to gain employment and independence

Community groups supporting disabled people are due to benefit thanks to a new grant making fund.

The creation of the Disability Fund for Cumbria, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, will support practical interventions that promote the inclusion and integration of disabled people into employment and independent living.

The new fund was set up following the closure of Disability association Carlisle & Eden (DaCE), which had been supporting disabled people in Cumbria for more than 20 years. The charity transferred its residual funds to the Foundation to help other organisations providing services and support for disabled people.

Fred Wilenius, Chief Officer for DaCE, said: “For over 20 years, DaCE worked to provide disabled people in Cumbria with the support they need to live independently. So we are very pleased that we have been able to donate DaCE’s residual funds to the Foundation to help establish the Disability Fund. We believe this means that for years to come, Cumbria will have a source of designated funding aimed at encouraging and supporting independent living for disabled people. Our hope is that others will also make donations, so the fund grows and flourishes.”

The money will support initiatives, projects and activities that aim to help disabled people become as independent as possible so that they are able to lead the life they choose in the way they prefer. The fund will prioritise local organisations that employ disabled people and where disabled people are involved as trustees.

Grants for individuals will be available for specialist equipment or training in support of employment and independent living.

Cumbria Community Foundation has been building philanthropic support for communities and grassroots groups for 22 years. In that time, working with individual donors and businesses, it has invested more than £56 million into local communities.

From left: Louise Emmett, trustee, Fred Wilenius, chief officer, Norman Fee, (nickname Norrie), founder member, all for Disability Association Carlisle and Eden, Kevin Walsh, trustee for Cumbria Community Foundation, and Denise Moses, chair of Disability Association Carlisle and Eden, celebrating the creation of the disability fund for Cumbria.

Kevin Walsh, Trustee of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be able to continue DaCE’s legacy and support projects on their doorstep to improve lives and enable local people to realise their potential.

“The Foundation understands that people with disabilities face many challenges and must be able to fulfil their role in society and participate on an equal basis with others. This new fund is a great example how we can work with community groups and charities that make a big difference to the lives of people with disabilities in Cumbria, helping to improve their lives.”

The Disability Fund for Cumbria has been created with the expectation that people will choose to donate to the cause and grow it over time.

To find out more, click here or contact Sarah Thompson, Grants & Programmes Officer via sarah@cumbriafoundation.org or on 01900 825760 to check eligibility.

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