High Sheriff celebrates county’s charities

22nd March 2024

Charity workers and volunteers from across Cumbria were rewarded and thanked at an award ceremony this week, recognising their tireless efforts to enhance and enrich their local communities.

Representatives from more than 20 voluntary and non-profit organisations were invited to the High Sheriff Award ceremony at Appleby Hub on Tuesday 19 March.

High Sheriff, Samantha Scott

High Sheriff of Cumbria, Samantha Scott, has visited charities and voluntary organisations around the county throughout her year of office, which comes to an end this month.

She said: “This has been a truly inspirational year and I have been privileged to visit so many amazing charities and voluntary organisations who do so much to support their communities and make Cumbria such a special place to live.

“The High Sheriff Awards are an opportunity for me to recognise and thank everyone, not only for the fantastic work they do, but also for the warm and generous welcome I have received from all corners of the county.

“Thank you to the Appleby Hub for hosting the event and for the delicious cream tea.”

The High Sheriff handed out 22 certificates alongside grant awards totalling £16,400 and issued three organisations with the prestigious High Sheriff’s Shield – Eden Rivers Trust, Wigton Theatre Club and 1st Wetheral Brownies.

Kate Jensen and Aaron Cockbain are co-chairs of Wigton Theatre Club, which has more than 110 members aged from five to 80. Kate said: “We have a really big team of volunteers who put hours and hours in to make sure the theatre really does benefit the whole community, and to have that recognised by the High Sheriff is wonderful.”

L-R: Aaron Cockbain, Samantha Scott and Kate Jensen

Aaron added: “The theatre is an expensive building to maintain – it dates back to 1884 – and we have invested a lot of money in it in recent years, putting in solar panels, refurbishing the foyer, putting in new toilets. There is always something else that needs doing so this grant will really help us ensure the building lasts.”

1st Wetheral Brownies was awarded the High Sheriff’s Shield in recognition of their incredible efforts in fundraising and community action. As well as tackling local issues such as littering and dog fouling, the youngsters have raised more than £10,000 towards Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal by holding an annual sponsored sleep out for the past eight years.

L-R: Georgina Collins, Samantha Scott and Janice Brown

Leader Janice Brown said: “Our Brownies are very community-minded, so it is wonderful to receive this recognition from the High Sheriff. We have many low-income families, including some from Ukraine, so this grant will be a huge help towards our residential trip to Liverpool later this year.”

The third recipient of the Shield was Eden Rivers Trust. Jenni Payne, Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator, said: “We have around 130 volunteers on our books and can get anywhere between one and 30 at a session. We really try to remove all the barriers that could stop someone from volunteering, whether those are cultural barriers, or reasons such as not having a car.

“We try to open up opportunities to as many people as possible. With any project, such as the work we have done to reintroduce water voles, volunteers do a lot of hard graft in the background.”

The awards are part of the High Sheriff’s Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, and publicly recognise both charities and individual volunteers who help improve their communities.

Annalee Holliday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are an extraordinary number of voluntary and non-profit organisations working at the heart of our communities, and this is an opportunity for them to receive the recognition and support they deserve.”

Other groups to receive an award are: A Stitch Different, Bendrigg Trust
Carlisle Key, Citizens Advice Copeland, Coniston Mountain Rescue Team, Every Life Matters, Furness Multicultural Community Forum, Headway South Cumbria, iCan Wellbeing Group, Keswick Youth Centre Services, Marsh Street Arches & Gardens, Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group, Penrith Pumas, Shackles Off Youth Project, South Lakeland Action on Climate Change, South Whitehaven Youth Partnership, Springfield Domestic Abuse Support in South Lakeland, Susan’s Farm and Whitehaven Community Trust.