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Organisations in Barrow receive £135,000 to tackle loneliness and increase volunteering

In partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Government has announced the Know Your Neighbourhood fund, a package of up to £30 million to create volunteering opportunities and increase connections across the country.

Cumbria Community Foundation is delighted to be distributing over £1 million of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund over the next two years to support initiatives in Barrow that can help to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness, help participants improve their mental and physical wellbeing, develop new skills and form social connections.

Eight projects have already received a share of £135,000 supporting initiatives such as telephone befriending to providing activities for socially isolated fathers. Funding has been awarded to those who do not usually have access to volunteering opportunities.

The Well Communities received £47,663 to develop a trauma informed volunteer training programme. Ged Pickersgill, Senior Development Manager, said: “We are reactive to the changing needs of the community and this funding will drive social activism and behavioural health change activity in Barrow with a professional and robust approach to volunteer engagement and development. 90% of our staff in Barrow started their journey as volunteers.

“The ‘Grow Your Own’ model will be developed and formalised by a number of national key strategists and scholars which will create a localised blueprint for lived experience volunteer recruitment, engagement and supervision.

Love Barrow Families received £17,673 to encourage more fathers in the area to join its Community Dads’ Group. Volunteer, Penny Forrest, said:The existing group members feel that the camaraderie and sense of belonging they have found since joining has improved their wellbeing and enjoyment of life, and they feel more confident and purposeful. This grant will enable us to publicise and grow the group, and we are excited about being able to involve more dads and extend the range of activities we can offer. Up until now the group has been limited as it operated on a shoestring budget, and we are so grateful that we can now obtain the resources and equipment we need to be able to develop and take the group to the next level.”

A Stitch Different CIC provides meaningful activities and real-life work experience for people living with disabilities. A grant of £3,788 allowed the social enterprise to run a ten-week pilot to work with older adults who have anxiety or other mental health issues, and to encourage parent carers to volunteer and reduce the feelings of isolation, while learning new skills.

Amanda Bland, Founder, said: “The project is proving a big success especially with carers and individuals struggling with anxiety. Those attending are saying how they are loving trying new things, meeting new people, accessing support, gaining confidence to be more involved in the community and not feeling so lonely or isolated.”

The College House Community Hub, run by Groundwork NE & Cumbria, received £22,453 to expand the services on offer. Victoria Myers, Project Manager, said: “The funding will allow us to extend the range of activities and services provided by both Groundwork and local organisations to the residents of Hindpool. The aim is to reduce loneliness and social isolation, improve health and wellbeing, skills and confidence, and help the residents to feel more socially connected within the community.”

Grants were also awarded to Age UK Barrow, Barrow and District Disability Association, Barrow Forward, Cumbria Addictions, Advice and Solutions (CADAS) and Groundwork North East and Cumbria.

The second round of funding will re-open for applications in April.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support meaningful and impactful activities in Barrow that encourage volunteering and tackle chronic loneliness. Our first round of grants from the DCMS Know Your Neighbourhood Fund have supported a diverse range of activities tackling social isolation and improving wellbeing through the power of volunteering. We welcome applications from organisations in Barrow for the next round in April.”

For more information visit, click here, or call the grants team on 01900 820827 or email

Funding to support enterprises in west Cumbria

Funding is available for charitable community organisations and social enterprises to provide business support and to encourage local people with enterprising ideas.

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, the UKSPF – E23 Strengthening Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Fund will provide grants of up to £25,000 to support both the creation of new enterprises and the development of existing businesses.

Thanks to funding from both Allerdale Borough Council and Copeland Borough Council, the aim of the fund is to spread a culture of enterprise, create local jobs and boost community cohesion by providing a range of support for new and existing businesses.

Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie, said: “I’ve always believed that entrepreneurs are key to growing our economy and finding new ways of doing business. Investment and support are key to their success, and I encourage all eligible organisations to look at the criteria and apply.”

The fund will offer revenue support to organisations that aim to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems, and can cover project running costs, staff salaries and small equipment costs.

The fund was set up thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which was launched in April 2022 and is part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. It aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK, investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

Annalee Holiday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said: “Local businesses play such an important role in the Cumbrian economy and wider communities and we’re very fortunate to have some strong, pro-active communities where there’s no shortage of amazing ideas. We hope the funding will inspire, encourage, and nurture, both new and existing entrepreneurs in West Cumbria. All they often require is a little expert know-how to help them get new services up and running.”

The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 27th February 2023.

To find out more or to apply, click here or contact

Festive fundraising keeps older people warm & well this winter

With temperatures this winter dipping to -7C in some parts of Cumbria, the fundraising efforts of the local people in the village of Mungrisdale has meant that more vulnerable older people will be warm this winter.

Judith Egan has supported the Winter Warmth Appeal for many years and this year raised £4,300 by teaching wreath workshops, coffee mornings, collecting generous winter fuel allowance donations and a stall at Mungrisdale craft fair. Over the years Judith has supported our winter initiative, raising more than £14,000 in total.

Judith Egan introduced the Winter Warmth Appeal to the village community and a film night and craft fair raised more than £700 for the appeal.

The Winter Warmth Appeal was set up by Cumbria Community Foundation in 2010 to make sure that vulnerable older people who may have to choose between heating and eating, can stay warm and well through the cold weather.

The Foundation doubled its fundraising target this year to £500,000 as the soaring cost-of-living crisis means this winter poses a serious threat to older people who already struggle to afford heating at home.

Judith said: “The Mungrisdale community has come together and enjoyed raising funds for the Winter Warmth Appeal. It gets better and better each year. The support from the local community is just wonderful. This is a nationwide problem, but Cumbria Community Foundation has excelled at promoting the Winter Warmth Appeal in our county. Please join the campaign and help protect the elderly to keep warm this year and every year.”

In partnership with Age UK across the county and Copeland Age and Advice Service, Cumbria Community Foundation has been able to award more than £400,000 to hundreds of older people helping to keep them warm, safe and well while easing financial pressure during the cold season. While this is an amazing achievement, there are still many older people who desperately need support.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said:“It’s more important than ever that the Winter Warmth Appeal receives widespread support, and we are very thankful for Judith’s and the Mungrisdale community’s generous donations again this year.

“We’ve been astounded by the magnitude of support we’ve received for this year’s Winter Warmth Appeal so far, particularly in light of the cost-of-living crisis. We’ve seen many people generously passing on their larger Winter Fuel Payment, and others donating their monthly energy rebate. We’re hugely grateful to everyone who has donated – and particularly those who donate year after year. Without your support, we know lots of older people in Cumbria would be suffering in silence during these long, cold winter months.”

If you would like to support the Winter Warmth Appeal and organise your own fundraiser, visit here.

Alternatively, you can call 01900 825760 Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm or send a cheque payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write Winter Warmth on the back) and post to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.

Housing association launches charitable fund

Community groups supporting people across Eden will benefit from a new grant making fund.

The new Eden Rural Community Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, was set up by Eden Housing Association after the sale of its Eden Community Alarms (ECA) office in Penrith.

Grants of up to £3,000 are available to voluntary organisations and community groups that help improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Projects supported could include exercise classes for older people, befriending service to reduce isolation of carers, materials and equipment to run activities with disabled young adults, improvement of community facilities to increase accessibility and one-off grants for capital equipment will be considered.

Priority will be given to projects supporting older people, particularly those who are vulnerable and isolated, adults with physical disabilities, mental health needs and/or learning disabilities, carers and community and volunteer-led initiatives to deliver or improve access to services in rural areas.

Cumbria Community Foundation has been building philanthropic support for communities and grassroots groups for 22 years. In that time, working with individual donors and businesses, it has invested almost £60 million into local communities.

Beth Furneaux, Chair of Eden Housing Association, said “We’re pleased that the fund created by the sale of the former Eden Community Alarm offices in Penrith means that we’re able to continue providing support to the people of Eden. Though Eden Community Alarms closed some time ago, it feels like this is a positive way to ensure the legacy for supporting people in our rural communities lives on.”.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Eden Housing Association has set up a fund and we look forward to working with them and helping them to support to support local people. This new partnership is a great example of how we can work with organisations to support local community groups and initiatives that make a big difference to the lives of those in genuine need.”

The fund is now open for applications. To apply or to find out more, please click here or contact Ellen Clements, or on 01900 825760 to check eligibility.

Hardship grants supporting people through the winter

Community groups and organisations across Cumbria are being encouraged to apply for funding to help people who are struggling financially.

Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Community Foundation is offering financial support to charitable organisations that are helping people through the cost of living crisis this winter.

The Community Hardship Fund is providing grants of up to £10,000. The money can be used for offering practical skills such as budgeting and cooking courses or to buy equipment for community lunches. The grants will also cover costs to sustain a service e.g., foodbanks, food pantries and hubs, and additional staff costs to increase activities.

Brathay Trust received £9,988 to provide struggling families in the Barrow area with a slow cooker, food, recipe cards and activities for children to increase the family’s cookery knowledge as part of the Take & Make programme.

Laura FitzGerald, Operations Manager at Brathay Trust, said: “This programme will support families to be more fuel efficient and eat healthy, nutritious, and full meals. 60 families facing adversity due to the cost-of-living crisis will be provided with a new slow cooker and 10 weeks’ worth of recipe cards and ingredients needed to cook a nutritious meal.”

To date, £74,000 has been awarded including a grant to Howgill Family Centre to provide essential household items, Home to Work to support its healthy food growing project, Age UK Carlisle and Eden to deliver 300 winter warmth packs to older people and the Rock Youth Project to support low-income families by offering regular cooking classes.

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants, Programmes & Communications Officer, said: “We know there is increased need across the county with food banks running out of food and more and more people unable to afford to eat or heat their homes to a safe level. This new fund will support projects that are keeping people fed and warm and provide additional practical support and advice to help people cope throughout this period of great hardship.”

Applications to the Community Hardship 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 Annalee Holiday via or on 01900 825760.

Grants available to support young people making a positive contribution to their communities

Projects that encourage young people to take action on the issues that matter to them can apply for up to £5,000 through the #CanDo Fund.

Administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, the #CanDo Fund creates opportunities for skills development for young people living in West Cumbria, including social action through campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which make a positive difference to their communities.

Since 2020, the #CanDo Fund has awarded more than £135,000 to 30 projects, with all the of them having been considered by a youth committee, putting the decisions in the hands of the next generation.

Amie Todhunter, 23 from Whitehaven, said: “The #CanDo youth committee is a great way to socialise and meet new people while also helping to fund important and necessary youth-led social action in West Cumbria.

“Meeting people with the same attitude and mindset has been really important as we’ve all come together from different areas and backgrounds to discuss significant ways to help groups create their own changes in their area.”

Two community projects to have benefited include Always Another Way, which received £5,000 to encourage young LGBTQ+ young people to get involved in social action. Alongside monthly community litter picks, activities raised awareness of LGBTQ+ issues to help improve understanding and build cohesion in the community.

West Cumbria Rivers Trust received £2,400 to recruit young people aged 14-18 to join their Youth Panel and work on a variety of projects from natural flood management to endangered species conservation.

The Trust has a crucial role to play in raising awareness and increasing understanding of West Cumbria’s rivers and lakes.  The youth panel meet quarterly to provide fresh ideas on how the charity can engage with its diverse communities in West Cumbria and also work on the design and delivery of projects.

The #CanDo Fund is funded by Sellafield Ltd, with match funding from Thomas Graham & Sons and local donors, and is part of Transforming West Cumbria, a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Stuart McCourt, Sellafield Ltd Education, Community and Development Lead, said:” Through our Six – Social Impact Multiplied programme, we want to support our local communities to thrive. The #Cando Fund enables this by empowering young people to lead change within their communities on the issues which are important to them.”

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change in their communities. We want to fund enjoyable projects that build and share skills and demonstrate positive impact on the wider community including simple, basic things like making new friends, trying out new activities and improving life skills. We’re proud to support local groups working with the next generation of volunteers, campaigners and activists who want to make a difference.”

The deadline for applications for the next round of #CanDo grants is 17th February 2023.

For more information or to apply visit, click here or contact Annalee Holliday on or 01900 820827.

£1.5 million awarded to good causes in Cumbria

More than 1.5 million has been awarded to a range of good causes in Cumbria, helping to tackle issues including loneliness, unemployment, mental illness and fuel poverty.

115 community organisations received a share of £1.4 million and more than 80 people received grants totalling £54,352, including support to young athletes, refugees, and survivors of domestic violence.

The money came from funds set up by local people and businesses including Carr’s Group, Lamont Pridmore, English Lakes Hotels, Lakeland Ltd, Thomas Graham & Sons and Herdy.

Ulverston Resilience Group received £10,536 from ENWL Storm Arwen Community Resilience Fund, set up to help communities provide support to vulnerable residents during adverse weather causes conditions. The group was able to purchase 10 additional two-way radios and increase the number of volunteers carrying out welfare checks.

Neil Fleming, Chair, said: “In the weeks following Storm Arwen, Ulverston Resilience Group made around 1,000 welfare visits to domestic properties across Furness and Cartmel, in support of ENWL and Cumbria County Council.

“At that time, there was little or no mobile phone coverage in many of the areas visited, and it was difficult to keep in contact with volunteers. The grant means we can now operate safely in the event of a major incident and make a real difference to the effectiveness of the service.”

Cumbria’s first wheelchair rugby club, Penrith Pumas, received £10,000 from the GVC Fund to purchase bespoke wheelchairs and cover venue hire costs.

The club offers individuals with any form of physical impairment, long term chronic health condition or disability to come along and participate in the sport. Megan Petit, Club Manager, said “For many of our members, living with life changing injuries, or long-term health conditions can leave them feeling angry and caged in a body that they’ll never be satisfied with. We strive to provide an all-inclusive environment where their impairments are not the elephant in the room.

“Physically, wheelchair rugby impacts on player’s strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Mentally it helps their resilience, improves their mood and reduces stress which can directly improve family life. Many players come from a pre-disability occupational background in the forces involving strategy, power, competition and teamwork. Wheelchair rugby provides these areas and gives players an outlet to practise them which aids continuation of skills from one are of life to another.”

£2,500 was awarded from Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund to set up Silloth Parkrun, a free, community event where all ages can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate.

Geoff Toogood, Event Director, said: “Once established, the weekly 5km run will take place every Saturday morning at 9am. The course will use Silloth Green and the promenade. Participation is free to all who want to jog, run or walk. We hope to attract members of the local community as well as holiday makers and parkrun tourists.”

£500 was awarded from the William Milburn Charitable Trust Fund to a team of volunteer ‘bus buddies’ who help people using public transport for the first time or are nervous about navigating the routes and timetables.

Brampton Bus Buddies was set up in 2014. Harry Urwin Simpson, Treasurer, said: “We help people overcome isolation and enjoy the company of other people. For some it’s about getting their independence back after losing their driving license due to ill health. For others, it’s simply about having a friend to travel with. This generous grant will allow us to treat our members to a meal out on one of our outings especially in this current climate.”

About one in five women have mental health struggles when pregnant or after giving birth. The Happy Mums Foundation runs support groups for expectant mums and parents experiencing mental health problems.

The award-winning social enterprise received £9,246 from Moorhouse Grassroots Fund to offer support to mothers of underrepresented groups, such as refugees and ethnically diverse, by running engagement events in partnership with other agencies.

Katherine Dalgliesh, Managing Director, said: “It is vital that we work harder to reach those who are marginalised. For example, we know that women from Black, Asian or ethnically diverse backgrounds are 13% more likely to develop postnatal depression or anxiety.”

The Reanella Trust received £15,000 from Live the Dream Fund and Thomas Milburn Fund, to provide a virtual learning course to help young people with mental health issues in Copeland.

Marcelline Menyie, Trustee, said “The Resilience, Recovery, Re-engagement programme offers therapeutic services, advice, support, and skills training and helps young people on their journey to improving their mental health and developing the skills necessary to engage in employment, education, and training.”

Youth Engagement Service based in South Lakeland was awarded £3,900 from myLakeland to support additional activities for its Friends Club and LIFESTEPS members.

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants Officer 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

Funds available to support mental wellbeing through nature based activities

Health, voluntary and community organisations across North Cumbria are working together to encourage more people to access the outdoors and benefit from the positive effects of the natural world around them.

Money from the North East and North Cumbria ICB has established the Green Social Prescribing Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation. Grants of up to £5,000 are available to charitable organisations in North Cumbria to provide nature-based activities, which have been shown to help people improve their health and wellbeing.

Activities could be anything from local walking groups, community garden projects, and talking and exercise therapies but projects that target specific groups of people will be prioritised, such as those with chronic health conditions including cancer, respiratory, hypertension; refugees; ethnically diverse people; LGBTQ or Gypsy, Romaine, Traveller (GRT).

Groundwork North East & Cumbia is supporting charitable groups to develop their projects and improve networks and referral pathways with Social Prescribing Connector teams.

Working across North Cumbria, Groundwork will ensure the programme will increase knowledge and awareness of nature-based activities, highlighting some of the excellent new and existing projects, as well as ensuring that those who prescribe into the programme are fully informed of what’s on offer.

Craig Drummond, Employment Programmes Manager at Groundwork, said: “This programme is designed to bring those together who socially prescribe with those who deliver nature-based solutions across Cumbria. Specifically, underserved populations in North Cumbria that are at risk of experiencing health inequalities, to improve their mental wellbeing and overall health.

“There is consistent evidence that engagement with nature is beneficial in terms of physical activity and increased mental wellbeing. This programme will bring together those who refer in and those who deliver green and blue social prescribing services, as well as identifying current gaps and barriers to access existing provision and taking positive action to overcome those.”

Sarah Thompson, Grants & Programmes Officer, said: “We are fortunate to have access to some world-renowned green and blue spaces in Cumbria and we are delighted to be working in partnership to improve health and wellbeing, mental health and ensure those at risk of experiencing health inequalities have equal access to nature-based therapies and activities.”

To apply or for more information click here or call Sarah Thompson, Grants & Programmes Officer on 01900 825760 or email

Keswick Alhambra Cinema Winter Warmth Fundraiser

Open every day throughout the Christmas and New Year period, the Keswick Alhambra Cinema is situated in the heart of the Lake District. It expects to be one of only five cinemas in the whole of the UK to welcome customers on Christmas Day itself, the nearest alternatives being hundreds of miles away in Glasgow and Leicester.

The independent and family owned and run cinema is showing five films on December 25th:

– the classic “The Bishop’s Wife”  (5.15pm)

– family favourites “Elf” (4.00pm) and the Muppet Christmas Carol in its 30th anniversary re-release (3.30pm)

– then in the evening we have the two big hits of the moment “Matilda the Musical” (7.30pm) and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (6.30pm).

Christmas Day opening at the Alhambra started in 2020 during the Covid lockdown. There were many people in Keswick who couldn’t travel to be with their families or to host them here for Christmas, and we thought that opening the cinema would be a way of providing festive cheer for those separated from their loved ones.

Co-owner Jonathan Moore said: “Word of mouth spread and the following year we found that all sorts of people wanted to come out on Christmas Day, including some as an integral part of their Christmas Day plans and others, including those who don’t celebrate Christmas, who were happy to find the cinema open that day.”

“The cinema raises funds over Christmas for the Cumbria Foundation Winter Warmth Fund by selling home-made mince pies and mulled wine. The Foundation also receives all the profit from the Christmas Day films. Importantly this year we will be also able to directly help those struggling to heat their homes by providing a warm and welcoming place to be.

“On Christmas Day our doors will be open from 2.30pm – 11.00pm and with five great films to see – I am sure there will be a really lovely atmosphere” Jonathan added.


Competition launched to find enterprising young West Cumbrians

Called Positive Enterprise, the competition is open to young people living in Allerdale or Copeland and aged between 14 and 25 to help bring their enterprising ideas to life.

The aim of the programme is to empower young people to think differently and break down barriers for aspiring young entrepreneurs. It is looking to back young people who have a social business idea with ambition to make it into a reality.

Developed by Cumbria Community Foundation, Positive Enterprise is funded by Cumbrian property developer, Brian Scowcroft, with match funding from Sellafield Ltd as part of its Transforming West Cumbria programme, LLWR, Well Whitehaven, Morgan Sindall and Kaefer.

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “It is very encouraging to see more funding allocated to creating opportunities after what comes on the back of a very challenging time for young people. Positive Enterprise will help them to develop their ideas that will benefit their peers, their communities and young people of the future.”

Ten successful entrants will each be awarded £1,000 to help them realise their ambition. As well as receiving the grant, the Foundation has teamed up with the Centre for Leadership Performance to provide six months of support, including a series of workshops, expert advice, mentoring and opportunities to shadow local entrepreneurs.

Catherine Eve, Executive Director, at the Centre for Leadership Performance, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cumbria Community Foundation, the programme promotes self-belief, vision, efficacy, collaboration and resilience; a perfect development platform for young people to develop leadership skills, find their voice and promote ideas that will positively disrupt their community and lead to innovation and improvement.”

Any potential positive disruptors now have an five-week period to develop their ideas and apply by 5pm on Monday 9th January 2022. An advisory panel will meet to review all entries and winners will be announced at the end of January.

For information on how to enter here.

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