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New charitable fund to help kickstart people’s careers in tourism

Cumbria Tourism has teamed up with Cumbria Community Foundation to launch a new charitable fund to support people embarking on a career in the county’s tourism industry.

Its new 50th Anniversary Fund, launched today to coincide with Cumbria Tourism’s landmark anniversary year, will help people aged 16+ access career opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Recognising the barriers faced by some as they contemplate a career in the industry, the fund will be administered by Cumbria Community Foundation. It will provide financial support for specialist equipment, training, study materials, travel costs, and more.

In turn, it’s hoped the extra support will enhance in-county opportunities and encourage a new raft of people who are interested in pursuing tourism and hospitality careers but have previously been put off by the associated costs.

Cumbria Tourism has set a fundraising target of £50,000 for 2024 for its 50th Anniversary Fund, with plans to replicate this over each of the next four years to create an Acorn fund that will continue giving long into the future.

To help reach its target, Cumbria Tourism will be holding a series of special fundraising events throughout the year, including a Cross Bay Walk and a Charity Golf Day. A number of fundraising social events will also be held and individual businesses will be encouraged to support the new fund. This will be supported by sales of the MyCumbria card, with 10% of all proceeds from the residents’ loyalty card going towards the new fund.

Acorn Funds are invested, with the returns being used to fund grants and ensure long-term support for the voluntary and community organisations that Cumbria Community Foundation works with.

Jim Walker (President, Cumbria Tourism), Chris Sanderson (Trustee, Cumbria Community Foundation, and Gill Haigh (Managing Director, Cumbria Tourism)

Cumbria Tourism President, Jim Walker, comments: “In Cumbria Tourism’s 50th Anniversary year, we are not only looking back at the past five last decades, we’re also looking to the future and focusing on the new innovators who will help take our industry forward in the coming years.

“The new 50th Anniversary Fund is all about supporting new tourism talent – of any age – and giving them a helping hand as they launch their career in this diverse and fast-changing sector. With flexible working opportunities, live-in vacancies and new ways to promote work-life balance, we know there is something for everyone and want to give more people the chance to make their first step on their personal career paths.”

Chris Sanderson, a Trustee of Cumbria Community Foundation, says: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Cumbria Tourism and their members in their 50th Anniversary year to create this vital new fund that will underpin support to people starting off on their professional journey in the world of hospitality. Tourism is a mainstay of our economy, celebrating and promoting our landscapes, food, farming, culture and heritage.”

To qualify for Cumbria Tourism’s 50th Anniversary Fund, applicants must be aged 16 years or over and either live and study in Cumbria OR be newly employed in the county’s tourism and hospitality sector.
To find out more or to apply, click here or contact Tracy Cheesbrough on or 01900 825760.

Warm Spots offer a critical lifeline

As energy bills soar, Cumbrians are turning to community ‘Warm Spots’ to escape the cold, socialise and save money on their heating bills.

The centres are providing a lifeline for many struggling to heat their homes. And visitors like the members of Carlisle United’s walking football clubs, can also find friendship, advice and hot food.

Warm Spots have been set up in venues like village halls, community centres, churches and parish rooms thanks to special grants which help cover the costs of energy bills, venue hire, additional staff time, or light refreshments for visitors.

The initiative, run by Cumbria Community Foundation, Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council, has awarded more than £27,000 to over 50 charitable community organisations across Cumbria.

Carlisle United Community Sports Trust used its grant of £500 to expand its weekly Walking Football clubs for over 50s, offering hot drinks and snacks after sessions, plus advice on budgeting, smart metres and how to save on utility bills.

Assistant manager Teresa Mulholland, said: “Many are widowers, so these chats give a social side that helps prevent loneliness and foster meaningful connections within the group.”

In Workington, Age UK West Cumbria transformed their charity shop into a full-time Warm Hub thanks to a grant from Cumbria Community Foundation this year. Locals can stop for hot drinks, games and company.

“A lot of people asked if we could continue with it because they wanted a space, even in the summer, not necessarily as a warm hub, but as a socialising space,” said CEO Jane Mindar.

“The funding has helped cover the cost of the basics and allowed us to do a bit more.

“It’s not just going to a place to keep warm. It’s going to a place to meet people or just to relax. But at the same time, it means that they can switch the heating off at home, perhaps for a couple of hours.”

Aspatria Dreamscheme is another Warm Spot. They use their grant to open a community space every Wednesday which offers soup, drinks and cake and helps local people including the elderly to keep warm and avoid loneliness and isolation.

In the village of Staveley, the community hall has served as a vital warm refuge on Tuesdays and Thursdays for elderly residents struggling with loneliness over the winter months. This is the second year the venue has been able to offer a Warm Spot after receiving an additional £500 of funding this year. Weekly sessions have allowed locals to bond over hot drinks and games, make new friends, and have a chat. Attendance has grown.

Samuel James Boyd Gilmore, one of the volunteers, said: “This year, we’ve attracted some new folks as well as folk with disabilities who are even more isolated at home.

In Barrow-in-Furness, a £500 grant from the Warm Spots Fund has enabled the not-for-profit organisation, Friends of Bram to reinforce and expand support services to vulnerable community members. Provisions like food parcels have ensured struggling people and families have access to essentials each week.

Their space operates an open-door policy to offer a warm, judgement-free environment.

Community Development Worker Dave Morrison said: “They come down for a chat and to talk over their issues. They’re finding that useful as it is. Many simply enjoy coming for a hot drink and coming into a warm space while they don’t have to heat their own homes..

“We found through conversations that some people were really struggling with the cost of living.

“We heard about a gentleman who was sleeping in his car overnight because it was cheaper to heat his car than it was to sleep in the house.”

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes and Partnerships at the Foundation, said: “The Warm Spots Fund has been crucial in enabling community venues to open their doors to local people so they can escape the cold and meet and chat while saving on their heating bills at home.

“The cost of living and high energy prices are really making things tough for many Cumbrians. The Warm Spots are a critical lifeline for our communities during difficult times.”

Applications to the Warm Spots Fund can be submitted at any time and groups should hear the outcome of their application within 10 working days.

To apply for funding, click here or contact Tracy Cheesbrough or on 01900 825760.

Cumbrian youth scheme gets Lottery boost

Over 200 youth workers are to be trained to help young people in Cumbria fulfil their potential thanks to a £445,270 National Lottery grant.

The youth workers will be trained over the next five years as part of the Better Tomorrows programme, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Better Tomorrows was set up to increase access to quality youth work following over a decade of massive funding cuts.

In its first two years, 54 people from across the county have accessed the accredited training, which is delivered by Cumbria Youth Alliance. The training ensures those who deliver youth work have the skills and qualifications to enable each young person to reach their full potential.

To help attract people to the youth work sector, Better Tomorrows also offers funding to cover the salaries of youth workers that are running new or additional youth club sessions in areas where it is limited.

To date, £1,062,330 has been awarded to 24 organisations employing 33 youth workers over the next three years.

One of its success stories is Kirkby Stephen Youth Centre, which opened in October and is now giving local youngsters a fun and safe place to meet each week while learning vital life skills.

Chrissie Hadfield, the youth centre chair, said: “We wouldn’t be able to run this centre if it wasn’t for the funding from Better Tomorrows.

The youth centre, which caters for 10 to 18-year-olds, and runs three nights a week, provides activities to help them learn vital skills such as teamwork, communication and empathy, understanding safety and risk, mental health and responsibility.

“It’s vital because this is such a rural and isolated area there’s nothing for children to do unless their parents can afford for them to be part of a sports club,” says Chrissie.

“We have gone from a world where kids used to go out to play and go to youth centres, to now where they are sitting in their bedrooms engaging with a screen instead of each other.

“We aim to teach all our children how to recognise risk, stay safe and know who their trusted adults are, along with other important resource work. Trained youth workers are vital for this work to be successful,” says Chrissie.

The National Lottery Community Fund recently awarded Cumbria Youth Alliance £445,270 to train 225 youth workers over the next five years as part of Better Tomorrows. But the scheme’s fund for paying youth worker salaries is in need of donations.

Better Tomorrows was launched by David Beeby in 2021 while he was High Sheriff of Cumbria. David said: “I wanted to focus on the young as they had paid a price to protect the elderly during the pandemic.

“What emerged was the massive decline in funding for youth services. There are a lot less opportunities for young people to go to youth clubs, yet there is compelling evidence that youth work really helps young people.

“The Lottery funding is a fantastic extension to the programme training youth workers and building their numbers in Cumbria. However, the salary budget is running low because it has been put to good use and we now need to push on and see if we can increase that.

“We need to continue to invest in youth workers in Cumbria so that more young people can get access to quality youth work.

“It’s about creating the best possible platform for the rest of their lives and helping to provide the skills and confidence, the aptitude and attitude to have a fulfilling life.”

Better Tomorrows is a partnership between Cumbria Community Foundation, of which David Beeby is chair, Cumbria Youth Alliance which trains the youth workers, and the Francis Scott Charitable Trust.

Becky Wolstenholme, CEO of Cumbria Youth Alliance, said: “I think Better Tomorrows is an absolutely brilliant scheme and it is something that is essential following Covid when young people came with far more complex issues, and youth workers asked for training and support to be better able to help their young people.

“Young people came out of the pandemic not having had any structure for two years and they had lost the ability to understand how to socialise. Quality youth work is about equipping young people with many essential life skills.”

If you would like to donate, you can do so online  or by calling Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760.

Click here for more information.