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Warm Spots offer a critical lifeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cumbrian youth scheme gets Lottery boost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for more information.

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

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,, 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

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

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

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,, 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.

Over 10,000 people to benefit from local funding in Barrow to tackle loneliness

More than 10,000 Barrovians are being supported by Cumbria Community Foundation into volunteering and opportunities to build social connections thanks to the Government’s Know Your Neighbourhood Fund.

Over £1.1 million has been allocated by Cumbria Community Foundation to create high-quality volunteering opportunities and support for people experiencing, or at risk of loneliness in Barrow.

Furness for You is an exciting new partnership of community-led activities which aims to improve wellbeing and increase social connection to reduce loneliness. The partnership received £960,831 to offer a varied programme, from creative activities to group events and one-to-one support as well as volunteering opportunities.

Led by Groundwork NE & Cumbria, partners include Age UK Barrow, Brathay Trust, Barrow Leisure Centre, Barrow & District Disability Association, Cumbria CVS, Furness Multicultural Forum, the Poverty Truth Commission, StitchAbility and Women’s Community Matters. By working together, there will be no wrong door for anyone seeking support.

Groundwork North East & Cumbria representative Craig Drummond, said: “We are delighted that the money has been released for this crucial programme. Loneliness and isolation are devastating and sadly impact many people in the community. As a partnership we will build confidence and be a first step for many people to access an umbrella of services under one name, Furness for You, to ensure people receive the right support at the right time for their mental and physical wellbeing.”

A further grant of £210,502 was awarded to Cumbria Wildlife Trust to deliver The Bay, a nature and wellbeing project helping local residents combat loneliness and isolation by connecting with the outdoors. The Bay supports communities not only in Barrow but also in Wyre and Morecambe in Lancashire. Small group wellbeing sessions are at the core of provision, but it also offers a range of larger community events to engage with a wide range of people and connect into the Furness for You partnership.

Counting eggcases

Yolanda Aze, Community Engagement Officer for The Bay said: “We’re hugely grateful to Cumbria Community Foundation for their support with this important work. Reconnecting with nature can have a really positive impact on people’s wellbeing. Taking time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the seaside, together, is a well-known method of helping combat depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. By helping people to immerse themselves in outdoor activities, such as guided walks, rock pooling, beach cleans and art, our project is benefitting the communities of Barrow, while also helping to support and alleviate some of the stresses on our NHS and also enable people to take action to help nature. Thanks to Cumbria Community Foundation, we’ll be able to continue providing this support for people in Barrow who may benefit from it.”

Since The Bay started in September 2021, over 5,600 people in Barrow have engaged with the programme and 242 people have been referred to The Bay’s nature and wellbeing sessions in Barrow. The programme as a whole has proved very popular, with nearly 13,000 people across all three areas (Barrow, Fylde and Morecambe) getting involved, and a total of 576 people have been referred to nature and wellbeing sessions.

Cumbria Community Foundation, along with eight other accredited community foundations from the UKCF network have previously supported a range of projects aimed at tackling loneliness and increasing volunteering during the first phase of the programme.

Annalee Holliday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes, said: “Barrow is a vibrant and growing town with lots of great volunteering networks and community activities on offer. The Know Your Neighbourhood Fund is a chance to build on that success, share learning, work in partnership, and really make a difference in people’s lives.

“The fund has given a wide range of organisations the opportunity to reach more people and boost volunteering, strengthen the great communities in the town and improve wellbeing for everyone.”

Recent research has found that those living in the most deprived areas are more likely to report feeling lonely, as well as being less likely to volunteer. Research has also shown that loneliness is closely linked with mental health and wellbeing, and that certain types of volunteering opportunities can help connect communities and help people develop skills and grow their networks.

Civil Society Minister, Stuart Andrew, said: “Loneliness is something anyone can experience, at any time. We know that volunteering can help people connect, as well as improving mental wellbeing and helping people develop new skills.

“This funding will mean those in some of the most disadvantaged areas across the country are able to volunteer in an area that interests them. From arts groups to skills development workshops, there are thousands of ways for people to get involved, meet new people and try new things.”

Transforming lives in West Cumbria

The Transforming West Cumbria (TWC) programme, aimed at improving the lives of West Cumbrians, has already made a positive difference to hundreds of organisations and thousands of people, a new report shows.

Transforming West Cumbria, funded through the Sellafield Ltd social impact, multiplied (SiX) programme and delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation, focusses on addressing the area’s most entrenched social issues and inequalities.

It was created in response to a study commissioned by Sellafield Ltd in 2019, which highlighted persistent social problems including 3,900 children living in poverty, one-in-seven households with an income below £10,000 a year and more children in care than in any other part of the county.

Sellafield Ltd and Cumbria Community Foundation launched the TWC mid-term report – which details the positive impacts the programme is having – at a showcase event at Energus in Workington last week.

From building the resilience and capability of community organisations, inspiring social enterprise, and nurturing young entrepreneurs to improving family wellbeing, addressing financial hardship, and increasing mental health provision, the £6.5 million multi-year programme works collaboratively across multiple sectors and drives a partnership approach to delivery.

Many of the charities and groups supported under the programme attended the event to tell people about their work in West Cumbria including Together We, CADAS, Phoenix Enterprise Centre and the Howgill Family Centre.

Sellafield CEO Ewan Hutton

Sellafield Chief Executive Euan Hutton took time to meet with many of them and told the conference: “It has been humbling to hear the stories today and meet some of the groups involved in Transforming West Cumbria.

“You are all amazing. Well done to Cumbria Community Foundation and everyone who makes this happen.”

Gary McKeatingGary McKeating, Head of Development and Community at Sellafield, opened the event with a passionate introduction to Transforming West Cumbria.

“Trying to address the inequalities that we see in our everyday lives is the thing that puts fire in my belly and drives me on to help develop programmes like Transforming West Cumbria.”

Dr Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes and Partnerships, explained how the huge project had been developed around seven themes to address West Cumbria’s social problems.

“We live in a community that wants to help itself. Community groups want to do great work. Transforming West Cumbria is about harnessing that energy,” she said.

Keynote speaker, Councillor Emma Williamson, Deputy Leader of Cumberland Council, said the key change was collaboration. “We need to keep investing in these issues and listening to those with a lived experience to find the best way forward.”

The event demonstrated that more can be achieved by working together and that impact can be multiplied through collaboration. But, there is still so much more that can be done…

Businesses and individuals across West Cumbria, and beyond, are encouraged to get involved in Transforming West Cumbria by volunteering as a trustee, director or committee member for a charity or social enterprise, acting as mentors, sharing skills and training, offering in-kind support and providing match funding.

The full report is available here.

To find out more, contact Jenny Benson or Annalee Holliday on 01900 825760.

Call issued for young people to make a difference in their community

Young people with a passion for where they live are being encouraged to ensure their voice is heard and make a difference to their community.

Cumbria Community Foundation is looking for young people aged 16 to 25 and living in West Cumbria to join the #CanDo Youth Advisory Panel.

#CanDo encourages community organisations to apply for funding of up to £5,000 for community projects, led by young people. The applications are considered by a youth committee, ensuring that decisions are taken by the very people who will benefit for generations to come.

The committee meets regularly to examine and debate applications, and has a say in which projects they feel will make a difference in their communities and should be supported.

Nearly 30 different organisations that work with young people have received funding to carry out projects in their communities, so far.

This is the fourth round of recruitment for the youth advisory committee, which is made up of young people with a wide range of lived experiences and who are from different backgrounds and forms a crucial part of the Foundation’s grant making and helps steer its charitable work in a more youth-led direction.

Some of the #CanDo Youth Committee 2022-23 members

Sophie Crozier, 24 and from Cockermouth, joined the panel about a year ago. She explained: “Being a part of the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee has been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the inspiring projects and people in the local communities of West Cumbria.

“I’ve met some remarkable people from doing this, and it’s allowed me to develop skills and knowledge in evaluation. This has been a fantastic initiative to get involved in, in terms of feeling as though you have a say in what’s happening in your community, but also to feel more in tune with what’s happening at a local level.

“I would recommend this experience to anyone who is considering applying, and only wish that I could continue on next year.”

Twenty-four-year-old Thomas Allaker joined last October and says the difference they are making to their communities is vital.

“We meet once every couple of months to review applications for funding for youth projects, and we discuss what we like about a proposal, what doubts we might have, and what adjustments we think should be made before we approve funding, with the aim being to ensure the funding allocated has the best chance of improving young people’s lives,” he said.

“It’s a chance to help support young people in the part of the country where I grew up, especially those who might not have had the opportunities that I had. Hopefully the funding we allocate helps project provide these opportunities to the next generation.

“Anyone thinking about it, go for it!”

Fellow panelist Aimee O’Driscoll, 19, who lives in Whitehaven, added: “It is an amazing opportunity that has been very rewarding for me. I enjoyed learning about all of the beneficial projects that are in the local area that I perhaps wouldn’t have come across otherwise.”

Over the past three years, the youth committee has awarded £123,840 in funding to 27 youth-led projects in West Cumbria, including a recent grant to Whitehaven Sea Cadets to run a nationwide campaign to save the bees. The cadets packed and posted ‘bee bombs’ – native wildflower seedballs – to every unit in the UK, inspiring planting that could result in more than 15,000 square feet of bee-friendly habitats.

Funded by Sellafield Ltd as part of their SiX – Social Impact Multiplied programme, with match funding from Thomas Graham & Sons and local donors, #CanDo is part of Transforming West Cumbria, a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are very excited to be offering this opportunity again to young people in West Cumbria. The #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee was launched in 2020 and has been very successful. We believe that young people should be heard and have their views valued and acted upon. Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change – their involvement is crucial to the future of our communities. The young people on the panel bring expertise and a fresh pair of eyes to help us decide which projects are funded.”

Applications to join the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee are open now and will close on Wednesday 10th January 2024. For more information, download the #CanDo Information Pack.

For more information or to apply for a grant from the #CanDo Fund, click here or call the grants team on 01900 825760 or email