Call issued for young people to make a difference in their community

20th October 2023

Young people with a passion for where they live are being encouraged to ensure their voice is heard and make a difference to their community.

Cumbria Community Foundation is looking for young people aged 16 to 25 and living in West Cumbria to join the #CanDo Youth Advisory Panel.

#CanDo encourages community organisations to apply for funding of up to £5,000 for community projects, led by young people. The applications are considered by a youth committee, ensuring that decisions are taken by the very people who will benefit for generations to come.

The committee meets regularly to examine and debate applications, and has a say in which projects they feel will make a difference in their communities and should be supported.

Nearly 30 different organisations that work with young people have received funding to carry out projects in their communities, so far.

This is the fourth 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.

Some of the #CanDo Youth Committee 2022-23 members

Sophie Crozier, 24 and from Cockermouth, joined the panel about a year ago. She explained: “Being a part of the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee has been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the inspiring projects and people in the local communities of West Cumbria.

“I’ve met some remarkable people from doing this, and it’s allowed me to develop skills and knowledge in evaluation. This has been a fantastic initiative to get involved in, in terms of feeling as though you have a say in what’s happening in your community, but also to feel more in tune with what’s happening at a local level.

“I would recommend this experience to anyone who is considering applying, and only wish that I could continue on next year.”

Twenty-four-year-old Thomas Allaker joined last October and says the difference they are making to their communities is vital.

“We meet once every couple of months to review applications for funding for youth projects, and we discuss what we like about a proposal, what doubts we might have, and what adjustments we think should be made before we approve funding, with the aim being to ensure the funding allocated has the best chance of improving young people’s lives,” he said.

“It’s a chance to help support young people in the part of the country where I grew up, especially those who might not have had the opportunities that I had. Hopefully the funding we allocate helps project provide these opportunities to the next generation.

“Anyone thinking about it, go for it!”

Fellow panelist Aimee O’Driscoll, 19, who lives in Whitehaven, added: “It is an amazing opportunity that has been very rewarding for me. I enjoyed learning about all of the beneficial projects that are in the local area that I perhaps wouldn’t have come across otherwise.”

Over the past three years, the youth committee has awarded £123,840 in funding to 27 youth-led projects in West Cumbria, including a recent grant to Whitehaven Sea Cadets to run a nationwide campaign to save the bees. The cadets packed and posted ‘bee bombs’ – native wildflower seedballs – to every unit in the UK, inspiring planting that could result in more than 15,000 square feet of bee-friendly habitats.

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.

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 Wednesday 10th January 2024. For more information, download the #CanDo Information Pack.

For more information or to apply for a grant from the #CanDo Fund, click here or call the grants team on 01900 825760 or email