Ambitious new five year plan launched

3rd May 2023

Cumbria Community Foundation has been providing a helping hand to the people of Cumbria for more than 20 years.

The money we raise through the support of our generous donors funds the grants that we distribute to charities and voluntary groups across Cumbria. Those charities and groups provide a lifeline to many people and the grants help them to continue and expand their vital work.

Since 1999, we’ve distributed over £60 million in grants to more than 4,000 organisations and 8,000 individuals in Cumbria, funding a variety of projects; improving access to mental health support, advice and guidance for those in financial hardship, increasing employability and training opportunities, supporting early intervention and education programmes, food provision, tackling homelessness and ensuring young people can access youth clubs.

We’re proud of what has been achieved to date but, knowing that there is always more to be done, we launched our ambitious new five year strategy yesterday.

To respond to the needs in our communities, we aim to grow our sustained long-term grant making to a minimum of £6 million per year by 2028. To do that, we plan to increase awareness of the work we do and inspire more people, families, businesses and larger companies and institutions to donate through the Foundation, which can then be channelled to where needs are most pressing in the county.

Our new five year strategy is timely. It is being launched in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis that hit while we were all still recovering from the social and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Living standards and life expectancy are falling, and needs are increasing.

It goes without saying that living in Cumbria has some serious upsides. We’ve got a World Heritage Status landscape with good people who look out for each other. But life in the county can also, for many people, be really tough. Our beautiful landscape hides intense poverty and lack of opportunity, all of which is exacerbated by rural isolation and lack of access to services.

We know our county very well. We commission and produce research reports to identify the issues facing communities in Cumbria and also their strengths. Using evidence-based data and insights, we will produce further reports to evidence local need, shed a spotlight on issues that need addressed, and ensure everyone can achieve their potential.

There are a number of different ways people and businesses can give back to their community through the Foundation – one off or regular donations, a membership scheme, legacy gifts, hosting fundraising events to name a few. Our current core of supporters have helped build an endowment of over £26 million which helps ensure community projects are supported for the long term. With new supporters working alongside current fundholders and partners, the plan is to build that endowment to £40 million over the next five years.

We’re determined to improve the lives of local residents and strengthen communities. We want to ensure that Cumbria is a place where needs are met, and everyone can reach their potential.

Read our new five year strategy.

If you’d like to get involved, contact us by sending an email or calling 01900 825760.