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Funding available for community projects supporting architectural merit in Cumbria

Community projects of architectural merit in Cumbria are being encouraged to apply for financial support from a fund set up in memory of a much-love father.

The Geoffrey Blake Architectural Heritage Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, was set up by a daughter in loving memory of her father, who had a long-standing interest in historical architecture.

Community projects run by voluntary or charitable groups that support architectural merit and enhance people’s experience and understanding of the built environment are welcome to apply.

Projects must have full access to the public and have a clear benefit to the community.

The Foundation is eager to hear from projects that include the renovation of community features and landmarks, e.g. wells, crosses and memorials, the renovation of features of public buildings or the creation of new work including sculptures and other built features.

The first grant was awarded to Fitz Park Charitable Trust for the refurbishment of the exterior of PUPS Shelter in Keswick.

The shelter was built in 1939 by the Pushing Young People’’s Society (PUPS).  Their aim was to provide activities and engagement for young people by carrying out charitable work and raising money to build the shelter in Fitz Park near to the War Memorial.

A spokesperson for the Fitz Park Charitable Trust said:“Fitz Park Trust is grateful for the support of Cumbria Community Foundation as it will ensure that the shelter  is restored as close to the original in design and purpose as possible.

“The grant will have a huge benefit in restoring this heritage asset in Keswick. It will take the shelter from a run-down structure, which is now looking very tired, and improve the overall street scene in an area, making this area a more attractive place to encourage people to meet up as well as place for quiet reflection.”

Since 1999, the Foundation has been bringing people who love Cumbria together to make the county stronger, so Cumbria can thrive and meet the challenges communities face and achieve their full potential.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “This fund provides valuable funds for projects of architectural merit in Cumbria. It is important that people can experience local heritage and it’s great that we have a fund that supports the renovation of community features and landmarks.”

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

Electricity North West launches Storm Arwen resilience fund

Communities throughout the North West have an opportunity to be awarded a share of £500,000 through a fund designed to improve resilience.

The region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, has launched the new Storm Arwen Community Resilience Fund and is now welcoming applications.

The fund is aimed at groups and organisations that supported communities throughout one of the worst storms the North West has ever seen.

Grants of up to £10,000 are being made available and in exceptional circumstances, grants of up to £15,000 will be considered.

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said: “The level of community support shown during Storm Arwen last year was amazing and something we want to support and learn from.

“We want to be able to ensure the good work continues in the future should adverse weather cause disruption again and that’s why we’re launching our new Storm Arwen Resilience Fund.

“The fund is aimed at organisations and groups to support the welfare of their residents in such events. The criteria we’ve set out is fairly open as we want communities to tell us what matters to them in a time of need.”

The fund is eligible to local volunteer-led organisations, not-for-profit community organisations, local registered charities and parish councils.

Examples of projects supported could be permanently installed generators, new or improved hot food and drink facilities or an improved community communications hub.

Electricity North West is working alongside Cumbria Community Foundation who will be administering the fund across the whole of the North West. In Cumbria specifically, one of the worst-hit areas during Storm Arwen, potential applicants can receive application support from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT).

Applicants must be based in or provide a service to eligible communities, which are defined as those that were off electricity supply for 72 hours or more during Storm Arwen in November 2021.

During Storm Arwen, 93,000 properties lost power across the North West after winds reached 74mph and tens of thousands of trees came down, pulling down power lines and snapping electricity poles.

Electricity North West restored 18,000 properties automatically within three minutes and over 600 engineers battled the elements restoring 90% of customers within 48 hours, despite continuing winds.

The fund is in addition to the £6m the power network has invested in winter preparations this year to reduce the impact on or customers through severe weather events.

For more information about the fund including criteria, please click here.

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Home from Home Fund Supports First Projects

Holiday and second homeowners are helping communities thrive as two community projects receive the first grants from a new fund.

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Home from Home Fund invites second and holiday homeowners to donate the equivalent of one week’s rent each year, with a minimum suggested donation of £500.

The funds are then allocated to specific projects in towns and villages where many of the properties are located.

The fund has so far helped two local causes: Carers Support South Lakes and Lunesdale Hall in Kirkby Stephen.

Carer Support South Lakes has developed a health and wellbeing programme, which will support around 140 unpaid adult carers in the district.

Debi Marsden, CEO of Carer Support South Lakes, said the demands on unpaid carers could lead to financial issues, as well as feelings of isolation, stress and other physical and mental health problems.

“The health and wellbeing programme works with adult unpaid carers to strengthen their resilience, develop healthy coping strategies and build their confidence and self worth,” said Debi.

“The focus will be to help carers identify their individual needs and offer support that will lessen the impact of their caring role.”

The programme involves group work and one-to-one counselling, as well as therapy sessions, such as yoga or reflexology.

“A health and wellbeing practitioner will work with the individual to find the right resource and help them get to do what they want to do at a time that they wish to do it,” said Debi.

“It could be anything the carer feels they need to lessen the impact and enable them to cope.”

“It really does make a massive difference,” said Debi.

“The funding enables us to employ a part-time worker to run the programme and have all of the infrastructure behind them – the laptops and phones and everything else – that will enable them to do it.”

Meanwhile, Lunesdale Hall, in Kirkby Lonsdale, received a donation from the Home from Home Fund to help pay for a new kitchen.

The building, which dates back to 1895, is used for a range of community, recreational and commercial purposes.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the hall began running a ‘community cupboard’ providing food to people in need and hosting regular community lunches.

However, Michael Burchnall, deputy chair and secretary of Lunesdale Hall committee, said the kitchen is not currently suitable for preparing food for large numbers of people.

“We wanted to host it in the Lunesdale Hall and prepare the food in the hall, but it was impossible for the numbers involved so we’ve been having to prepare the food elsewhere,” he said.

Michael says an upgrade of the kitchen will help solve this problem.

It will also provide facilities to cater for a growing number of enquiries from people who want to book the hall for weddings or other events.

It is hoped work could begin to revamp the kitchen in late September.

“Everything we’re getting in grants means that we don’t have to spend our diminishing resources on the hall and will help it to play an even more important role in the community,” says Michael.

Both organisations will benefit from a £1,000 donation towards the total cost of their projects, helping to make them a reality.

The Cumbria Home from Home Fund has been developed in partnership with self-catering agents and holiday homeowners operating in and around Lake District and wider Cumbria and is also being backed by Cumbria Tourism.

Jacqui Currie, Head of Development at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We have been very pleased with the response to our Home from Home Fund and I’d like to thank everybody who has donated and helped to promote it.

“The Fund provides an easy mechanism for holiday and second homeowners to give back to the communities that host their properties.

“It’s fantastic to see these funds doing exactly what they are intended to do; making a real difference and improving the lives of people in our local community.”