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Join Cumbria’s High Sheriff for cross bay walk challenge

The High Sheriff of Cumbria, Chris Holmes, is inviting people to join him as he takes on a Cross Bay Walk challenge.

The walk across Morecambe Bay on Saturday, 29 June will be led by the King’s Guide to the Sands, Michael Wilson, who will help walkers navigate the ever-changing flats and channels as they take in the Bay’s scenery and wildlife.

Everyone signing up for the walk will be helping to raise money for the High Sheriff’s Fund, which supports community groups and organisations throughout Cumbria.

High Sheriff of Cumbria Chris Holmes
High Sheriff of Cumbria Chris Holmes

High Sheriff Chris Holmes said: “I know the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk is on many people’s bucket lists so I hope a lot will sign up to join me on the day. It’s a challenge that can only safely be tackled under expert guidance, so I am delighted to have the King’s Guide to the Sands, Michael Wilson, to lead our walk.

“It was a great honour to be appointed High Sheriff and I am keen to raise as much money as I can towards the High Sheriff’s Fund throughout my year in office, to support worthy causes across the county.”

The High Sheriff’s Fund is administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, with aims including tackling youth crime, supporting vulnerable older people, improving the health and wellbeing of Cumbrian communities, and supporting other charitable groups selected by the High Sheriff.

At the end of their year in office in March, the High Sheriff chooses projects and groups to receive a grant. This year, 22 grants totalling £16,400 were awarded by the outgoing High Sheriff Samantha Scott, and three organisations also received the prestigious High Sheriff’s Shield – Eden Rivers Trust, Wigton Theatre Club and 1st Wetheral Brownies.

All ticket proceeds from the cross bay walk will go to the High Sheriff’s Fund and walkers also have the option to collect sponsorship to further boost the total raised.

Places on the walk, which goes from Arnside to Grange-over-Sands, can be booked online at a cost of £15 for adults, £7.50 for children and £2 for dogs.

The exact length of the route depends on conditions and tides on the day but is expected to be between five and nine miles.

Walkers must register in Arnside at 10.20am on 29 June, to set off walking at 11.20am.

Anyone who would like to support the High Sheriff’s Fund but cannot attend on the day can make a donation via the fundraising page at

£600,000 to benefit good causes across Cumbria

More than £600,000 has been awarded to a range of good causes in Cumbria, tackling issues including rural isolation, loneliness and climate change.

Over 100 grants totalling £603,195 were given out to community organisations and individuals at two recent Cumbria Community Foundation grants committee panels.

The money came from funds set up by local people and businesses including Westmorland Ltd, Fibrus and Thomas Graham & Sons.

93 community groups received a total of £578,626 towards a wide range of projects across the county, and 28 individuals benefited from £24,569 towards the cost of overseas trips, attending sporting competitions, and equipment and course fees.

A group of people standing on a bowling green in bowling outfits
Carlisle Subscription Bowling Club

Carlisle Subscription Bowling Club received £890 from Thomas Graham Grassroots Fund to pay for equipment and improved facilities, with the aim of attracting new members, to reduce social isolation and improve fitness, particularly among the over 55s.

Club Social Secretary David Whitfield said: “The grant funding will encourage and equip people of all ages to come and try bowling free of charge.

“Bowling is an activity with both physical and social benefits that we think will offer the opportunity of meeting people in a relaxed and social setting and hopefully developing a new shared interest in the sport – and if not in bowling, then at least have people think about other outdoor and social sporting activities which they can try and possibly develop an interest in, with the associated benefits to them as individuals.”

Clifton Info Pod

Clifton Community Council was awarded £4,300 from the ENWL Storm Arwen Community Resilience Fund towards the Clifton Info Pod Community Resilience Project.

The Info Pod is a former BT phone box which has been transformed into a community hub, housing a book swap and noticeboards. The funding will pay for the installation of a sustainably powered mobile phone charging point with battery storage system, a battery powered radio, and a community digital information hub with Wi-Fi access point and digital display screen for the sharing of crucial community information.

Becx Carter, of Clifton Community Council, said: “In the past three years alone, Clifton has suffered three major power outages for a number of hours during which the ability to charge mobile phones and access local radio would have been invaluable.

“Clifton, despite its relatively close proximity to Penrith, is a community ‘out on its own’ when bad weather emergencies happen. A sustainable powered mobile phone charging hub for use during these times is vital to ensure that people’s mobile phones can continue to be used for access to critical information, contacting emergency services and staying connected with family.”

Members of 3rd Wigton Squirrels standing with their flagA grant of £1,000 was awarded to 3rd Wigton Sea Scouts from Castles & Coasts Housing Association Community Fund towards the cost of setting up a Squirrel group – the youngest and newest section of the Scouts for those aged four to six.

Leader Lynne Wright said: “3rd Wigton Squirrels opened in early January this year and has been very successful, with an ever-increasing waiting list due to its popularity.

“We hope that as the little ones grow, they will progress to Beavers and then Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. They will learn about community and learn life skills along the way. They will make friends and very importantly have fun along their Scouting journey.

“We have strong community links and have done tree planting, litter picking and the like. They are all local children and we expect to see the benefits of having focused young people out in the community at large as they get older.”

South Lakeland Action on Climate Change (SLACC) was awarded £20,000 from the myLakeland Fund towards the development of new premises for its Waste into Wellbeing project.

The organisation currently runs Kendal Community Food Larder at Stricklandgate House and Kendal People’s Café at South Lakes Foyer. Their aim is to streamline its operation onto one site, building a professional catering kitchen to serve the café, process gluts of produce into pre-prepared meals and offer a dedicated training space for learners.

Stacy Hurley, Development Manager for Waste into Wellbeing, said: “We have been looking for a permanent base, which we’ve secured at the old United Reformed Church in Highgate, Kendal. The myLakeland grant will enable us to install a state-of-the-art catering kitchen. It will also house our community cooking project.”

Annalee Holliday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these worthy organisations that are working hard during these difficult times to meet local needs.”

For more information or to apply for funding, call the grants team on 01900 820827 or email


Supporting care leavers in Cumbria

A new national programme of support for young care experienced adults has been launched throughout England. Managed by UK Community Foundations, the Care Leavers Programme has a primary focus of improving the life chances of care leavers through decentralised funding into regions around the country.

The £3.6 million match fund scheme will run over three years and is being funded by the Local Authorities’ Mutual Investment Trust (LAMIT), a shareholder of the UK’s biggest charities asset manager, CCLA.

There were 46,000 care leavers between 17 and 21 years old in England alone in 2022. Each year, young people leaving the care system immediately meet a range of challenges that their peers might not experience.

Deficiencies in transitional and practical support mean that care leavers are often less likely to get the help they need to make a fresh start as a young adult. Gaps in support have been found when it comes to relationships and mentoring, education, employment and mental health.

In the year ending March 2023, 71% of care experienced young people in Cumbria, aged between 17-18 were in education, employment, or training compared to the 66% national average. However, by the age of 19-21 there were higher rates of those not in education, employment, or training (42%), compared to the national figure (38%), showing a considerable drop in engagement between 18 and 21 years of age.

Cumbria Community Foundation is working closely with Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council, Cumbria Youth Alliance and Inspira as part of their strategic approach to help care experienced young people transition into adulthood.

Brighter Futures

The Brighter Futures programme offers personalised support, which includes both one-to-one personal and professional work-based mentoring, bespoke life skills development and work-experience placements tailored to their aspirations. In addition, employers and training providers will be equipped with the knowledge and understanding needed to support care experienced young people to thrive in a work-based environment.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of LAMIT, said: “We are delighted to be working with both Cumbria Community Foundation and their partner local authorities Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council to deliver extra support to young people within the care system that badly need it. This fund of £275,000, which includes funding of £115,500 from CCLA over three years, will provide that little bit of extra support that is vital for care experienced young people.

“Nationally, our care system is creaking at the seams despite the best endeavours of dedicated professionals such as social workers and probation officers. We need to find innovative approaches for young people who have left care, in which society can wrap its arm around them in the same way that we as parents and grandparents wrap our arms around the young people in our own family.

“Over the next three years we hope to hold a series of events both nationally and here in Cumbria to learn from what has been achieved and challenge all partners and potential partners, such as the NHS and the criminal justice system, to work together in a more challenging and holistic way.”

Jenny Benson
Jenny Benson

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The Brighter Futures programme has been co-designed with a range of stakeholders and fully informed by the experiences of care experienced young people. It specifically addresses gaps in current provision, encourages collaboration, engages employers, and has the potential to positively influence national policy.”

Rosemary Macdonald BEM, Chief Executive at UK Community Foundations, said: “Inequalities for care leavers differ from region to region, and this true for those living in Cumbria. It is key that we harness the knowledge of local organisations to not just fund fantastic projects for young people leaving the care system, but to nurture those relationships and keep the momentum going to make real change happen.

“By supporting individual care leavers and supportive organisations in Cumbria, Cumbria Community Foundation will be able to use this programme as a way of uniting communities and authorities, to explore local solutions to local issues and use the learning to influence wider support.”

Councillor Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association, said: “Councils support thousands of young people who become care leavers every year, whether that is finding a home to live in or help into work. Alongside our communities, the LGA is delighted to be able to support this fantastic new initiative which can help to transform care leavers’ lives as they make the transition into adulthood.”

£400,000 in ‘levelling up’ funding awarded to Cumbrian projects

Cumbria Community Foundation has awarded almost £400,000 to organisations in the county as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ programme, which aims to address geographical inequalities across the UK.

Funding was given to provide start-up business support advice and to help move those furthest from the labour market closer to employment by upskilling and providing volunteering opportunities.

Cumbria Community Foundation managed applications to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council, working together with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership.

In total, £389,994 was awarded to 17 projects across Cumberland.

Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership provided advice and guidance to help develop proposals for four of the projects:

Three volunteers stand in front of the Growing Well minibus
Growing Well Egremont volunteers with the new minibus

Growing Well received £23,036 towards the cost of a minibus service at their new site in Egremont. The organisation offers free targeted and specialist mental health intervention to adults who are experiencing mental ill health by involving them in outdoor activities at their three market gardens in Cumbria.

Growing Well’s Partnerships Manager for North Cumbria, Catherine Bentley, said: “The money we received has enabled us to buy a minibus for our new site in Egremont and help fund driver recruitment and training, also creating jobs in the local community.

“Growing Well offers free transport to site for all its volunteers and by doing so removes barriers to accessing free mental health support for people who live in isolated communities or don’t have their own transport but who badly need our help.”

Five people standing outside the Rebuild Site CIC warehouse
The Rebuild Site CIC

The Rebuild Site CIC was awarded £39,940 towards the expansion of its operations into West Cumbria. The social enterprise was formed in Carlisle with the aim of taking surplus materials from construction sites and giving them to charities and community groups for building, gardening, crafting, and repair projects.

Director Maisie Hunt said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding through the UKSPF and REPF to support the expansion of The Rebuild Site CIC into Workington.

“The grant will allow us to set up a second site with a community focus, bringing low cost materials and sustainable, practical and DIY skills sharing to the area, and reduce useful materials going to waste.”

Charge My Street received £33,800 to provide two new electric vehicle charge points in St Bees and associated community engagement.

Proud and Diverse Cumbria were awarded £52,262 towards the refurbishment of the Choose Life cafe and community hub in Whitehaven.

Rob Randell, Chair of Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, said: “Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership has been very pleased to work with Cumbria Community Foundation to support some of Cumberland’s social enterprises to apply for and receive grant support via our wider REPF and UKSPF-funded business support programme. This business support which CSEP has provided has helped to identify opportunities for business growth and development, and the additional funding will help accelerate this.”

Other projects to receive funding included:

£16,160 to Newton Rigg Limited, towards the cost of a manager to promote land-based apprenticeships and courses in Cumberland
£22,435 to Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for its Cumberland self-employment business support programme
£37,558 to Age UK Carlisle and Eden towards its Connect and Empower initiative, which boosts digital skills and volunteering prospects for those in their late 50s to early 60s

A group of people taking part in a Sense of Purpose workshop
A Sense of Purpose workshop, run by the Centre for Leadership Performance

Centre for Leadership Performance received £19,500 to run a series of workshops for businesses and soon-to-be retirees to ensure a successful transition to retirement, other employment or volunteering opportunities.

The Sense of Purpose programme aims to increase the life satisfaction and wellbeing of those retiring; enable them to remain economically active for longer; improve their sense of belonging and community through volunteering; and reduce their reliance on health and social care services.

Catherine Eve, Executive Director of Centre for Leadership Performance, said: “Thanks to the funding, we have been able to scale up our Sense of Purpose programme. This means we can reach more retirees, helping them to plan for a fulfilling retirement and connect them to more local services, volunteering and employment opportunities.

“Retirees have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience; Sense of Purpose enables them to continue to add value to their local community.”

In total, more than £1.3 million has been awarded in Cumberland from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “Dozens of businesses and organisations have benefited from the funding and more than £1.3 million has been granted so far. We would like to thank partners for their support and look forward to seeing these funded schemes develop in the future.”

Annalee Holiday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at the Foundation, said: “We know how innovative our communities, charitable organisations and social enterprises are in identifying and initiating activities for the benefit of residents. To be able to access revenue and capital costs through this allocation of funding can make the world of difference for such initiatives. This will have a real impact – from individual businesses to entire communities.

“A further round of UKSPF and REPF grant funding will be open for application in the upcoming weeks. Please get in touch if you would like to apply.”

For more information about grant funding available through Cumbria Community Foundation, visit, call the grants team on 01900 820827 or email

Virtual Coast to Coast Challenge launched

A hardy team from Cumbria Community Foundation braved icy rain on St Bees beach  to launch an appeal for businesses to tackle a Coast to Coast challenge to raise money for communities in need.

Thankfully, businesses tackling the 171-mile challenge will be able to take part without braving the vagaries of Cumbrian weather and will be able to row, walk or pedal in the cosy surroundings of their home, office or gym.

Cumbria Community Foundation has launched the Virtual Coast to Coast Corporate Challenge for intrepid teams from Cumbrian companies to match the distance of one of the UK’s favourite long distance trails, the Coast to Coast walk.

Caroline Adams, relationships officer with the Foundation, was one of the trio to launch the challenge at St Bees yesterday.

“The weather was awful – it was like we were being sprayed in the face constantly with icy water, but it’s all for a good cause.

“With a bit of luck we will have dried out by the weekend,” she said.

The aim is to raise as much money as possible to help Cumbrians in need including disadvantaged children and families, older vulnerable people and fragile communities.

The Challenge is being run by Cumbria Community Foundation, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

Cumbria Community Foundation chief executive Andy Beeforth said: “This is a brilliant way for businesses and our corporate supporters to raise money for local causes.

“For 25 years, the Foundation, through generous donors, has had a positive impact on thousands of lives. This challenge will help us to continue to do so.

“We also hope it will be a fun way for businesses and their staff to join together and give back to their community”.

Cumbria Community Foundation is inviting all Cumbrian businesses and organisations to join in the fun. Each business will register via a team captain, with every team and team member getting their own fundraising page.

Money will be raised for Cumbria Community Foundation’s vital Cumbria Fund which supports Cumbrian people and communities in need, or for the business’s own charitable fund if they have one with the Foundation.

The inspiration is Wainwright’s hugely popular Coast to Coast Walk which runs from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay.

Participants can clock up the miles virtually by any means from walking to running, static bike to swimming to treadmill. The only method not allowed is cycling. Any steps done each day during the challenge count towards the total mileage, whether walking the dog, cleaning the house or doing the weekly shop.

Teams will have six weeks to complete the 171 miles, or as much of it as they can manage, between Monday 20 May and Monday 1 July.

That’s an average of four miles per day. Every mile completed and pound collected will help Cumbrian good causes.

Mileage covered each day can be captured by Strava or logged manually on the fundraising page and each team member’s supporters can donate directly via their page.

The fundraising page tracks each participant showing how far along the route they are.

Rory Black, Director at Designworks in Kendal, and colleagues are signing up for the challenge. He said: “The Virtual Coast to Coast Challenge is a great way to get people active whilst supporting a fantastic cause.

“The team at Designworks decided to take on the challenge because it is accessible and can be completed by walking, running, swimming, static exercise bike and rowing machine, so it has something for everyone. We are looking forward to getting involved and raising funds for individuals and community groups in Cumbria.”

CCF’s Cumbria Fund supports vital work across the county. Examples have included refurbishment of accommodation for homeless people, improving facilities for disabled people, contributing to staff salaries for youth clubs for disadvantaged children, a drop-in service for people with mental health problems, advisory services on tackling debt and benefit entitlement, and supporting access to services combating social isolation for older people.

If you are a Cumbrian business and would like to take part in the Virtual Coast to Coast Corporate Challenge, you can find out more at:

To register, please visit:

Find out more about becoming a Corporate Member of CCF here:

Wind farm generates £1m in community benefits

A wind farm between Longtown and Gretna has paid more than £1m in grants to the local community.

The nine turbines at Beck Burn began generating electricity in 2017 producing enough power for 18,000 homes.

A child plays at Tree-mendous Learning's Forest School Holiday Club
Tree-mendous Learning’s Forest School Holiday Club in Longtown, which received funding from the Beck Burn Wind Farm Community Fund

As part of the scheme, operator EDF Renewables UK agreed to pay £155,250 a year to community projects within a 10-kilometre radius.

This grant fund – administered by Cumbria Community Foundation – has passed a significant milestone. A £10,300 grant to Springfield & Gretna Green Community Asset Trust, to replace windows at Stormont Hall in Gretna Green, has taken the total paid to more than £1m.

Simon Ling, Asset Manager for Beck Burn Wind Farm said: “It’s wonderful to see such a significant milestone be reached. We are thrilled to see such worthy projects receive funding to enhance the lives of those living in and around Longtown and Gretna and look forward to hearing more over the coming months.”

Raydale Community Partnership is the single largest beneficiary, having received grants totalling £85,000 since 2018.

The not-for-profit organisation was formed following the collapse of Gretna FC to buy back the club’s ground, Raydale Park, for use by the community.

The grants have gone towards a 3G multi-discipline sports pitch for year-round use, the creation of a fitness and leisure space and new changing rooms.

Stuart Rome, Facilities Manager at Raydale Community Partnership, said: “Gretna has lacked a safe space for children and teenagers to participate in sports. We now have more than 250 users of our facilities.

“We’re grateful for EDF Renewables UK’s support for the mental and physical wellbeing of our community. We couldn’t have done what we’ve done without them.”

Across the border in Cumbria, Longtown Memorial Hall and Community Centre has received £28,000 with a further £20,000 just awarded.

Centre Manager Steph Graham said: “Our reception area hasn’t been touched for around 40 years. With this grant, we’re going to open it up to make it much more welcoming with a community café and a seated area so people can come in, meet their friends and make use of the free wi-fi.”

Five people stand in an allotment
Step Together Volunteering used Beck Burn Wind Farm Community Fund money to create a sensory garden and wildlife/memorial walk for veterans

The Beck Burn Wind Farm Community Fund prioritises grants to volunteer-led or community groups within a five-kilometre radius, although groups up to 10 kilometres away can apply if they deliver benefits in the five-kilometre area.

These grants support charitable, community activities that are environmental, educational, sporting or community related. Awards are normally between £1,000 and £20,000 and can be for multiple years.

Part of the fund is ringfenced for education and training grants for individuals over 16 living within the parish/community councils of Rockcliffe, Westlinton, Arthuret, Kirkandrews-on-Esk, Springfield and Gretna Green, Kirkpatrick Fleming and District, Canonbie and District, and Gretna and Rigg.

Lisa Blackwell, Grants and Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “This fund provides a valuable, long-term, sustainable and reliable source of income for local communities.”

For more information, contact Lisa Blackwell on 01900 825760, email or follow these links: