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Fundraising family reaches £50,000 target

The family of Cockermouth musician, Bridget Hilton, is marking what would have been her 80th birthday by announcing the opening of Bridget’s Magical Music Pot.

Bridget died in 2018 from a brain tumour, after a short illness. In her memory, Bridget’s family set up a legacy fund to support community music making in West Cumbria.

Bridget’s Magical Music Pot has been created with the help of Cumbria Community Foundation.

After five years of fundraising, the fund has now reached £50,000, which has been invested to grow over time. The income generated annually from the endowed fund will be used to fund music projects.

Kate Parry, Bridget’s daughter, who lives in Cockermouth, commented:

“We’re so excited to have reached our target of £50,000. It means we can now open Bridget’s Magical Music Pot to applications. To arrive at this point on what would have been my mum’s 80th birthday feels just brilliant.”

David Hilton, Bridget’s husband, added:

“Bridget loved making music. As a music teacher, she spent her life bringing people together to play and have fun. That’s what she did and that’s what we want Bridget’s Magical Music Pot to support in her memory.”

The new fund will enable us to make a small number of grant awards of up to £500 each year, to community music groups of all shapes and sizes. David explained:

“When we say group, we mean anything from two people playing ukuleles together to a full choir or brass band. We envisage funding things like sheet music, equipment, tuition costs and room hire. Anything that makes it possible for people to come together and enjoy playing together, because we know how much good that does people.”

On behalf of the family, Alison Hilton, Bridget’s daughter added:

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated and fundraised to reach the £50,000 mark. People have been so generous and worked so hard to get us to this point. Even though we’ve reached our initial target, we’ll keep fundraising because the more we raise the more money we can give out in grants to people in West Cumbria.”

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said:

“We would like to thank Bridget’s family for choosing the Foundation to manage their charitable giving in her memory. The memorial fund will continue to share Bridget’s love of music and encourage others to make music together for a long time to come. This is such a wonderful legacy for a truly remarkable and inspiring woman.”

Full details of Bridget’s Magical Music Pot can be found here.

To donate to Bridget’s Magical Music Pot, click here.

Backing West Cumbria’s young entrepreneurs

Ten young West Cumbrians are going into business thanks to an initiative from Cumbria Community Foundation and the Centre for Leadership Performance.

Positive Enterprise provides budding entrepreneurs with a £1,000 grant and support to make their business ideas a reality. It is funded by property developer Brian Scowcroft with match funding from Sellafield Ltd under its Transforming West Cumbria programme.

Seven young people took part when it began last year.

Another 10 have signed up for the 2024 scheme, launched last week at The Bus Station in Whitehaven.

David Beeby, Chair of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We set up Positive Enterprise because West Cumbria is under-represented, compared with other parts of the country, in terms of numbers of young entrepreneurs.

“We’ve got a very good crop this year, with a diverse range of businesses, and it will be exciting to see how they develop.”

Rhianna Smith, Early Careers Project Lead at the Centre for Leadership and Performance, in Cockermouth, said: “For the young people, it’s all about their development. Last year it was amazing to see the participants thrive, come out of their shells, build confidence and find something they loved doing.”

Positive Enterprise is open to anyone aged between 14 and 25 living in the former districts of Allerdale and Copeland.

As well as the grant, participants get six months’ support to include workshops, expert advice, mentoring and the opportunity to shadow local entrepreneurs.

Tracey West, Senior Social Impact Manager at Sellafield Ltd, said: “We want to encourage and support young entrepreneurs by making it easier for them to access the right advice at the right time, build a peer-led environment where they thrive alongside some financial assistance to get their business idea of the ground. I’m delighted Positive Enterprise is continuing to strengthen the growing network of young entrepreneurs in West Cumbria, by fuelling their ambition, confidence and commitment and helping them to succeed.”

This year’s Positive Enterprise participants are Isabelle Barratt, 17, of Distington; Meyrem Korkmaz, 16, of Maryport; Jasmine Riddick, 16, of Workington; Jackson Slack, 16, of Wigton; Haidee Trohear, 16, of Seascale; and Alfie Goodwin, 15, Aaron Groggins, 21, Ava Marshall, 15, Chloe Pennington, 15, and Scott Sharpe, 21, all from Whitehaven.

Their business ideas include an American-style laundromat, American candy and drinks, bespoke bouquets, pet accessories, beauty products, football coaching, artwork and personal gifts, and custom glassware.

While some are still at school, two are running their embryonic businesses while holding down full-time jobs.

Aaron Groggins, an electrical design engineer at Sellafield, will help businesses with online marketing, social media and web content.

He said: “Small businesses often can’t afford to employ someone to do this for them. My model is to help them grow a presence, develop social media channels and then leave them confident to continue the journey themselves.”

Scott Sharpe, an apprentice at Sellafield, is running a vintage clothing business.

He said: “The plan is to buy clothing from wholesalers, charity shops and car boot sales, then sell through a website and eventually get a shop.”

The launch at The Bus Station, attended by the participants and their families, heard from Millom entrepreneur Jenny Brumby who has been running businesses since she was 14 and is now a mentor for Positive Enterprise.

She advised them: “Keep it simple, do your market research, consider making your business a social enterprise to give something back, don’t fear failure, collaborate and work with each other. Most importantly, enjoy the journey.”

Also speaking was Amber Shankland who gave up her job as a wedding planner during Covid to set up a cake business, Love at First Bite, working initially from her then home in Distington. She stressed the benefits of being your own boss.

“There’s a sense of freedom in being able to pick your own ideas and work when you want,” she said.

“The good times outweigh the bad. It isn’t easy, you have to give everything to make it work, but you have that control. Try and be as unique as you can. It can be daunting but just put yourself out there.”

There was advice too from two of last year’s participants. Lennon Glass, of Cockermouth, took questions, while Luke Eilbeck, from Wigton, sent a video message telling the new intake: “Make the most of the support. I’m sure you’ll all be brilliant. I can’t wait to hear the success stories in a few months’ time.”

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 grants@cumbriafoundation.org 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 tracy@cumbriafoundation.org 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.

CCF publishes commitment to adopting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in all of its work

We have been reviewing how the principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion can be integrated into our work and in support of our purpose.

Trustees believe our work as a grant maker can be improved by embracing these principles. Our grantees, supporters and anyone who works with us will see the implementation of a DEI Action plan in the coming months.

To explain what this will involve, we have published a Commitment to DEI which describes the broad areas we will be working on..

If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive andy@cumbriafoundation.org

Help vulnerable older Cumbrians keep warm this winter

Money given to the Winter Warmth Appeal by this Friday, December 22, is set to be doubled thanks to the generosity of match funders.

Cumbria Community Foundation has run the Winter Warmth Appeal every winter since 2010, raising more than £2.5m to provide help with heating bills to some of the county’s most vulnerable older people.

Energy bills soared in 2022 and remain sky high, making this year’s appeal more vital than ever.

An estimated 300 to 500 older people in Cumbria die each winter because of problems related to not being able to heat their homes.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes and Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We’ve extended the deadline for match funding donations until 5pm on December 22 to maximise the amount raised.

“Thanks to the generosity of our match funding champions, every £1 the public give will be doubled, so every person’s donation will really make double the difference.

“Our aim is to raise at least £500,000, so that we can support as many people as possible. Our delivery partners at Age UK tell us that people are being forced to choose whether they eat or heat their homes. It’s that desperate.”

Shirley Goodwin

Those to have benefited in previous years include Shirley Goodwin, 65, and her husband Paul, 64, of Walney in Barrow.

Shirley said: “The price of gas and electricity is going up all the time. We had cut back on heating because we were frightened of overspending. My husband was putting it on for just an hour in the evening. I have diabetes and high blood pressure so I do need to keep warm. This has made such a difference.”

Another beneficiary is Stewart Taberham, 75 of Morton Park in Carlisle.

Stewart Taberham

He said: “I’m waiting for an operation and I need the heating on 24/7 because of my health problems. That costs me £250 a month, which I can’t afford on a fixed income. This help has made a considerable difference.”

And Barbara Wilson, 78, of Egremont, said: “I have circulation problems so I need to keep warm. My great granddaughters bought me a pair of heated gloves. I was sitting in the cold wearing these and a coat. The help from the Winter Warmth Appeal means I can have the heating on.”

Barbara Wilson

Last year’s appeal awarded grants totalling £578,930, which helped 3,223 older people in Cumbria keep warm.

You can donate online using this link.

Alternatively, donate by phone calling 01900 825760 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or send a cheque payable to Cumbria Community Foundation, with ‘Winter Warmth Fund’ on the back, to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, CA13 0PN.

The Community Foundation’s match funding champions have pledged almost £200,000 to double the amount given by members of the public. They are: WCF Ltd, John Laing Charitable Trust, Cumberland Council, Nuclear Waste Services, Hadfield Trust, Rural Getaways Ltd, Furness Building Society, Lake District Estates, holidaycottages.co.uk, Roselands Trust, the Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, Harvey Family Fund and various private donors.

Cumbria receives a £500k legacy windfall this Christmas

The joy of giving is synonymous with Christmas, but there are gifts that can have an impact long after the festive season has finished, and the decorations are packed away.

Ann Clark made such a gift through her will to grow the Brian and Ann Clark Fund at Cumbria Community Foundation by leaving £500,000 to grow the Brian and Ann Clark Fund to £1.7 million.

In 2016, Ann created the Brian and Ann Clark Fund at the Foundation, which to date has given out more than £270,000 to almost 60 local charities.

Cumbria Community Foundation gives around £4 million in grants a year to local charities and voluntary groups through over 100 grant making funds set up by generous individuals, families and businesses.

Ann lived in Penrith and had been a social worker and specialised in children’s services before she retired. She had worked in both Whitehaven and Carlisle and was keenly aware of the needs of young people and people with disabilities.

“Ann was a private woman and didn’t seek publicity. We’re honoured that Ann and people like her entrust their giving with us,” said Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation.

“Funds like this are a wonderful way to allow a family name to live on and support causes that are close to someone’s heart in perpetuity.”

The income generated by the Fund is used to make grants to charitable groups tackling poverty and disadvantage caused by age, illness, disability or isolation as well as the preservation of important local buildings.

Blackwell Sailing

Some of the organisations that have benefitted include Age UK in Barrow, the Barrow & District Disability Association, Blackwell Sailing, Dignity in Dementia, Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group, which runs the Lend a Hand programme to provide shopping and other essential services for the ageing and vulnerable, The Oaklea Trust, which works primarily with people with a disability to help them lead more independent lives, drug and alcohol rehabilitation organisation The Well Communities CIC, and The Lighthouse Community Mental Health Hub in Kendal.

Cumbria Community Foundation helps individuals, families and businesses manage their charitable giving and philanthropy. For information on how to apply for funding contact the grants team by phone 01900 825760 or by email grants@cumbriafoundation.org

If you would like to know more about how you can leave a charitable legacy in your will for your local community or a cause you care about and/or to commemorate a loved one please contact Caroline Adams, Relationships Officer, on 01900 825760 or email caroline@cumbriafoundation.org

Community groups in Cumberland encouraged to apply for funding

Funding is available for charitable community organisations and social enterprises to provide business support and to encourage local people into employment and volunteering.

Cumbria Community Foundation is managing three UK Shared Prosperity Funds (UKSPF) & one Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council.

Grants of up to £45,000 are available to drive employment growth by providing support to start-up businesses and to help move those furthest from the labour market closer to employment by upskilling and providing volunteering opportunities.

A mix of revenue and capital grants are available through four schemes:

• UKSPF E30 – Revenue funding for business support
To drive employment growth, particularly in areas of higher unemployment.

• REPF 2.8 – Capital funding to support rural volunteering facilities
To enable the development of volunteering and social action projects. REPF is focussed on rural areas and therefore excludes the Carlisle City area

• UKSPF E35 – Revenue support for volunteer and wellbeing activities
Supporting people furthest from the labour market to overcome barriers to work by providing volunteering and enrichment activities to improve opportunities and promote wellbeing.

• UKSPF E36 – Revenue funding to support digital inclusion
To improve the digital skills of people furthest from the labour market.

The aim of the funding 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, alongside fostering a sense of local pride, and belonging.

Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “This is the first year that Cumberland Council has run the scheme, and it is now operated on a Cumberland wide basis.

“There are a variety of grants available, some with differing criteria, so we urge anyone interested in applying to read the guidance carefully before they make an application.”

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund & Rural England Prosperity 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. To find out more about the funding and other grants schemes available, visit www.cumberland.gov.uk/UKSPF

Annalee Holiday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said: “This funding provides a fantastic opportunity to inspire, encourage, and nurture, both new and existing entrepreneurs in across Cumberland as well as supporting local people into employment – whether it’s their first job, returning to the world of work or gaining skills through volunteering.”

The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 22nd January 2023

To find out more or to apply, click here.

Reducing the fear of the Cumbrian winter

Older people across Cumbria are worried about the winter ahead with many unable to afford to heat their homes.

Andrew Purvis, 72, said: “I worry about using electricity. The price of it is scary.”

Many older Cumbrians are forced to choose between heating and eating during winter and this year will be extra tough due to continuing high energy and food costs.

Every year between 300 and 500 older people in Cumbria die because of problems related to not being able to heat their homes.

But local people have a chance to help as the county’s Winter Warmth Appeal launched earlier this month with the aim of raising £500,000.

Money donated by the public and businesses is given to vulnerable older Cumbrians so they can afford to turn their heating on.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes and Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, the charity which runs the annual appeal, says donations are even more crucial this year.

“We are being told by our partners at Age UK just how desperate a situation it is for people who are being forced to choose whether they eat or heat their homes,” she said.

Carolyn Singleton

Carolyn Singleton, 79, from Newtown in Carlisle said: “If I didn’t have the Winter Warmth grant, I wouldn’t be able to turn the heating on.”

Andrew Purvis, 72, who lives near Aspatria, said: “You are forever thinking, can I do that? Should I put the heating on? I’m careful about baths and showers, because of the cost of heating the water. Food has all gone up as well. You have to balance one against the other – heat and food.”

Mary Morsby

Mary Morsby is 69 and lives on Walney Island in Barrow in Furness. She says the Winter Warmth grant is a “life saver.”

“If I can’t keep the house warm, or warmish, then I get bad coughing fits and my chest gets tight,” she says.

“I have an electric fire, but I don’t use it because it is too dear. To be truthful sometimes it is warmer outside than it is in.”

Mary said the Winter Warmth grant made a huge difference last winter.
“It helped me to put money on the gas and electric and get warmer. I was able to get a few bits of shopping. I had cut back on food, and things like washing powder and toiletries.

“Every time you shop stuff has gone up. It’s hard work trying to juggle stuff in the winter. You have got to eat and keep warm. The money was like a godsend really. It’s a life saver.”

Cumbria Community Foundation, which is based at Dovenby near Cockermouth, has run the appeal every year since 2010 raising almost £2.5m.

Last year Cumbrian individuals and businesses donated a record £661,908 to the Winter Warmth Appeal. This was used to make 2,413 grants, helping 3,223 older Cumbrians keep warm.

This year the situation is likely to be worse due to the continued energy crisis and the impact it is having on fuel bills this winter. It comes at a time when food prices and other household costs are also going up, leaving the vulnerable on low incomes in our county under more pressure than ever before.

Donations to the Winter Warmth Appeal made between 9am on November 13 and 5pm December 11 will be doubled thanks to the generosity of match funding champions: WCF Ltd, John Laing Charitable Trust, Cumberland Council, Nuclear Waste Services, Hadfield Trust, Rural Getaways Ltd, Furness Building Society, Lake District Estates, holidaycottages.co.uk, Roselands Trust, the Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, Harvey Family Fund and private donors.

Jo Ritzema, Managing Director of Brampton-based WCF, which has donated more than £50,000 to appeal since 2018, said: “We put our team and the rural communities in which they live and work at the heart of our business, and take their lead to provide long-standing support to the charities and organisations which are important to them.

“With the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills, it’s never been more important to support those who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter. I would urge anyone who is able to get behind the Winter Warmth campaign and make a real difference to people’s lives in Cumbria.”

You can donate online using this link.

Alternatively, donations can be made by cheque (payable to Cumbria Community Foundation) or phone. To make a phone donation, please ring 01900 825760 between the hours of 9am-5pm.