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Half a million raised as winter appeal launches for seventh year

As many as 300 older people die every winter across Cumbria because of the effects of the cold weather. Today sees the launch of a major appeal to help older people stay warm this winter.

Cumbria Community Foundation is encouraging people to donate to the Winter Warmth Appeal, which last year helped more than 1,000 older Cumbrians out of fuel poverty.

The Winter Warmth Appeal launch at Age UK was attended by our Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, and Trustees, Willie Slavin and Mike Starkie

The Appeal was set up in 2010 when a few leading Cumbrians decided they wanted to donate their Winter Fuel Payments to support others who were less fortunate than themselves. Since then, half a million pounds has been raised.

Anyone born before 5th May 1953 is automatically entitled to the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment and for many people this is vital. While no one wants to see the end of this universal benefit, some people can manage without it and are putting it to good use.

The money raised is distributed in partnership with Age UK West Cumbria, Age UK Carlisle and Eden, Age UK South Lakeland and The Oaklea Trust, and last year went a long way in helping vulnerable older people in Cumbria keep warm throughout the winter.

Hilda Peace, 65 from Carlisle benefited from a grant last winter. She said: “I hesitate to put the heating on all the time because of the cost and I know the costs are going to rise again this year, which is a real problem. I live on my own and struggle to keep warm. I don’t like to go out much in winter in case I slip and have an accident so I prefer to stay in. I usually go to bed at 7pm to stay warm and avoid putting the heating on.”

“I didn’t like to ask for help as I thought there were people worse off than me but someone persuaded me to apply and I’ve had a grant for the last three years now. I think it’s a generational thing but we need to break through the barrier of getting older people to ask for help when they need it. I would encourage anyone to apply.”

Cumbria has a super aging population; the number of older people living in the county has risen dramatically over the last six years. Between 2009 and 2015, there was an increase of 10,000 people aged 60 and over living in Cumbria.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Every winter, in every corner of Cumbria, there are older people who are struggling to keep warm.

“As our aging population increases, it is vital that we are in a position to help. We never want to have to say no to helping an older, vulnerable person in need and that’s why this year’s appeal is challenging the people of Cumbria to join together and beat last year’s record amount raised.

“The people of Cumbria have been consistently brilliant at supporting this important appeal, thank you so much to all that have donated so far.”

To raise even more money for the appeal, the Foundation is also hosting the fourth Big Sleep on Saturday 28th January 2017 where people are sponsored to spend a night sleeping under the stars on the shore of Lake Windermere when temperatures have previously plummeted to minus 6 degrees.

Cumbria Community Foundation would like people to pledge their Winter Fuel Payment or if they don’t receive it to make a donation to help those desperately in need of extra support during the winter. You can do this via the website or by calling 01900 825760.

One in five flooded households are still unable to return home

Latest figures show that one in five households are still not home after December’s floods.

Almost a thousand families out of the original 5,264 that were made homeless are still in temporary accommodation.

As we head towards winter, Cumbria Community Foundation is relaunching its Flood Recovery Appeal, not for more donations but for people to ask for financial help.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive, said: “We know that there are people out there who were flooded and still haven’t come forward for help. We think this is partly because some people still think they are not eligible for a grant or that someone else is in greater need. It’s also partly because some people who had insurance are still waiting to see what they are not covered for.”

One family didn’t apply for help until this month because they didn’t realise that they hadn’t submitted their application form.

The family who don’t want to be identified, from Carlisle, filled in the grant application after they lost everything in their rented property in the Warwick Road area of the city. But it was only three weeks ago when they went through old emails that they realised they hadn’t pressed send.

“We thought that we didn’t qualify for a grant and that’s why we hadn’t heard anything. I sent it in when I realised we hadn’t sent in the application and I got a phone call the next morning offering a grant.

“On that Saturday back in December, I kept going out every half an hour to see how high the water was against the flood defences and it didn’t look like it was going to breach, so my wife and my children and I all went to bed. Then at half past midnight a policeman knocked on the door and said we had to evacuate immediately. My older daughters were staying with us that night too, it was terrifying.

“We lost everything, the water was five feet deep. All our white goods and furniture – including a brand new sofa which we are still paying for now.”

The family and their four year old daughter moved to temporary accommodation in Wigton which made getting to work in Penrith as a postman and getting to Longtown to work as a teacher difficult for the family.

Luckily, their family and friends rallied round and helped get them back on their feet – donating furniture and helping them when they finally found another property to rent in Newtown Road.

“Getting that phone call from Cumbria Community Foundation was lovely. We had maxed out on our credit cards. We were living in a shell. We had the basics – a sofa and a television, but we have been able to pay off some of our debt and buy wardrobes and make the house feel like a home again.”

The family have had another reason to be happy, a new baby arrived just three weeks ago. The father continued: “There were so many times we were in tears and we wondered how we were going to get through. The pressure that we have been under, it released the pressure. For so long it was so bleak. I couldn’t see a way out. I know there are people worse off than us. Some don’t have the support from family, friends or any insurance. It’s enough to send someone into a deep depression. You can’t believe the happiness we feel now. When we were told we could get the money. I can’t tell you. I’d say to anyone who hasn’t applied yet, do it, getting this grant can make all the difference.”

While this family have been buoyed by the strength of support from their friends and family. Others have been less fortunate and are struggling.

Cumbria Community Foundation is helping other families who are buckling under the pressure by funding support groups and one to one therapy sessions across the county.

CADAS (Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service) has seen an increase in the number of people who have turned to alcohol or prescription drugs as a way of coping with life after the floods.

North Services Manager Helen Lawrie, said: “We have seen an increasing number of people accessing our service on a one-to-one basis who maybe had issues before the floods and have now become more vulnerable. People may have gone from having the occasional glass of wine to half a bottle a night. We find that some people are also addicted to prescription drugs, those who normally wouldn’t are going to their GP for an antidepressant and six months or a year on are still using it to cope.

Some people feel that nothing has changed in terms of extra flood defences or infrastructure and they have an ongoing anxiety that it is going to happen again this winter.

“Thanks to support from Cumbria Community Foundation, we are launching courses around the county to help those who need it to develop their resilience. There’ll be one in Carlisle, one in Kendal and one out west. It’s called Mindfulness and it helps people to stop feeling anxious, to think more clearly, to cope better and to have clear plans and strategies for when they have an anxious thought and then think what if, what if, what if.

“We can’t change their circumstances, we can’t help get them back home any quicker or prevent another flood, but we can give people tactics to help them cope better.”

Cumbria Community Foundation raised more than £10 million pounds to help anyone financially affected by last December’s floods. Anyone who is suffering hardship can apply, even if they had house and contents insurance. There are also grants of up to £2,000 to help households protect their properties from a future flood.

So far £5.7 million pounds has been distributed. Everything you need to know about how to apply for a grant is available here.

Barrow Community Trust – Vacancy for Committee Members

Barrow Community Trust distributes funds to local community organisations that tackle poverty and social deprivation in the area. More than £4 million has been invested in projects across the Furness area since 2002.

The Trust is looking to recruit new volunteers to add to its Grants Committee, which meets five times a year, currently on a Wednesday morning for approximately 90 minutes. Applicants should have experience of the voluntary sector, preferably across more than one area, and an interest in supporting community groups in the local area.

Training will be provided and expenses can be paid. If you are interested in the position, please complete the simple application from and return it via email by Monday 31st October 2016. If you would like more information about the role, please contact Ellen Clements on 01900 825760 or email

New trustees join board

Caroline Thomson, Mike Starkie, Steve Cockayne and Tony Keen have been appointed as new trustees to the board of Cumbria Community Foundation.

The Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter across the county. More than £2m a year is awarded in grants through its philanthropic funds, supporting community projects which make a lasting and positive difference to the area.

Caroline Thomson is chair of Digital UK, the body which is responsible for digital terrestrial television, she is a Director of CN Group, trustee of Tullie House Museum and was Chief Operating Officer for the BBC before stepping down from her role in September 2012.

Caroline said: ““I have been really impressed by the work that CCF has done in the community over the years and most especially recently on helping flood victims. I hope in some small way I can help it remain an effective force in the future.”

Steve Cockayne is Chief Engineer for Sellafield Ltd. He joined Sellafield in 1991 as Commissioning Engineer and went on to hold a number of senior operational and engineering roles before taking up his current position as Chief Engineer for the site.

Steve said: “Sellafield Ltd has had a very supportive relationship with CCF through Nuclear Management Partners. Since the change in the management model at Sellafield, our CEO is keen that this relationship continues. I was delighted to be asked to represent Sellafield Ltd and become a trustee to support CCF in helping the local communities.”

Tony Keen is Managing Director of Barrow-based engineering company SN Group. Previously he was a Director of Barrow AFC and has also held positions with Centrica.

Mike Starkie was elected Mayor of Copeland in May 2015. He previously worked in financial services for 26 years in senior corporate roles for companies such as Pearl, Axa and Zurich.

Mike said: “I became a trustee to help make Copeland a better place to live, work and visit. I am proud to be involved in such an inspirational initiative for Cumbrian communities. The Cumbria Community Foundation works incredibly hard to support individuals and organisations wishing to invest in the local community, which in turn makes a huge difference to the most disadvantaged people in our communities.”

The trustees’ appointments were formally ratified at the Board’s quarterly meeting on 22nd July.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation said: ““We are pleased to welcome the new members to the Board. They bring a breadth of knowledge as well as various skills and expertise to complement our current trustees. I look forward to working with them all as we continue to tackle disadvantage across the county.”

The new trustees join a board of 18 current trustees that include Chair Ian Brown, partner with Dodd and Co accountants, Chief Executive of Cumbria County Council, Diane Wood and former CEO of Cumbria Tourism, Chris Tomlinson OBE.


CUMBRIA Community Foundation’s Flood Recovery Appeal has given FIVE MILLION POUNDS to people across the county affected by December’s devastating floods.

More than 4,000 applications have been processed. 2,500 households have benefited from £4 million and 85 community organisations have had a share of £1 million.

The organisation to receive the five millionth pound is Churches Together. It was awarded a grant of more than £50,000 to run the Carlisle Flood Recovery drop-in centre on English Street. It offers advice and guidance to those who have been affected by the floods. Staff at the centre can also signpost to other agencies, to make sure people are helped directly.

David Robinson, President of Churches Together in Carlisle, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this vital support for the next twelve months. Paul Hendy and his team are very keen to hear from as many people as possible. It is wonderful that the public have been so generous to Flood Appeal. It’s true to say that community spirit is alive and well in Cumbria.”

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the priority was to give urgent financial support to those whose homes had been affected by the flooding – to help them pay for temporary accommodation, buy necessaries such as clothing, and so on. In the second phase people are moving back into their homes, and need much more substantial grants to cover things like carpets, tables and chairs, beds and bedding, white goods and kitchen units.

Cumbria Community Foundation Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “We want anyone who has been affected by the floods to approach us and apply for a grant to help them rebuild their lives, even if they have already had a grant. The money is there to help people in need across the county and we would like to reach as many people as possible.

“We know there are still more than 1,500 households unable to return home. However, this statistic does not reflect the true situation as some people remained living in their flooded homes, particularly those who were uninsured, and those that have returned home report still having to deal with a number of issues.”

The third phase of the Appeal is to support households implement resistance and resilience measures in their home, awarding almost £100,000 to date.

Cockermouth resident Rob was flooded, causing a substantial amount of damage to his home. He said: “We ended up knee deep in water and lost lots of personal possessions. We applied for the government’s Property Level Resilience (PLR) grant to protect our property, should it happen again. This helped pay for the majority of the flood defence scheme although it did not cover the full costs. A grant from the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal enabled me to complete the scheme and cover the shortfall.”

Funding will also support neighbours who wish to ‘pool’ their resilience grants to implement local neighbourhood resistance schemes, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, County and District Councils.

Millhouse Flood Action Group have been allocated just under £8,000 to work with the Environment Agency and develop an improvement plan for the area in Hesket Newmarket. The project includes raising, lengthening and re-enforcing the bund around the beck; works to the bank and flood calming measures. In addition to this, residents from the village also received individual grants towards resistance and resilience measures for their own homes.

Philippa Groves
Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the Millhouse Flood Action Group

Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the group, said: “Unfortunately, no one thing is going to stop the floods but with this help we can build up areas which will all help with the bigger picture. Together with all these measures and the work of the Environment Agency we hope we can protect the village from flooding in the future.”

Community groups across the county are also being urged to apply for funding to cover the costs of community-led flood defence work for public benefit, as well as those providing advice, guidance and emotional support to people affected by the floods.

The trustees of the Foundation wish to express renewed thanks to the thousands of generous people and organisations that donated to the appeal and also recognise the role of the government in providing match funding of £4.8m.

To find out more about the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal, or to make an application, visit the Flood Appeal page and complete an online application form. Alternatively, you can call the Foundation on 01900 825760 or email

Power to the hour

View of KendalSince my early twenties, I’ve relied on my cycle commute as a way of keeping fit. Distances have varied from the punishing Greenodd – Milnthorpe to the more manageable Kendal – Staveley. Work has now relocated to my home town of Kendal so the commute is a 5 minute walk.

Keen to keep the legs going for great charity rides, like the Jennings Rivers Ride and Fred Whitton Challenge, I came to the conclusion that an hour a day could be a workable solution. Having two young children and a business to run means that time is at a premium. Gone are the Sunday rides leaving home at 8.30 and crawling back at 3.30. An hour is a manageable session that can slot in before the start of the working day.

With time frame established the next consideration was terrain. Kendal’s surrounded by hills so climbing was the obvious option. If you’re going to do an hour then it might as well be painful.

A route was established taking in three hills: Scout Scar, Brigsteer and Greyhound. The 6 am ride means the roads are very quiet. It’s a great time to be out and avoids the stress of commuting through busy traffic.

The question is: an hour a day, is it enough? Can an hour in the saddle sustain a sufficient level of fitness so events, like the Fred Whitton, can be completed with the minimum of fuss.

We’ll soon see…

Violet Laidlaw Fund

Funded by a bequest from the estate of Violet Laidlaw, formerly of Scotby and Carlisle. Violet studied home economics and the nursing of sick children. Her philosophy was to be considerate to others, always finding the good points in people and never passing judgement. From a young age she showed a concern for the welfare of the homeless and less fortunate giving support whenever needed and through her gift this will continue.

How much can you apply for?
• Maximum grant will normally be £500 over one year
• Individuals will normally only qualify for one award from the Trust

Who can apply?
• Charitable groups helping homeless people in Carlisle City Council area
• Individuals in need of support

Please refer to Violet Laidlaw Fund Guidelines for full criteria before applying.

Cultural Fund

The Fund is the result of an initiative by Miss Mary Burkett and friends to help individuals in the arts. Its aim is to encourage individuals of excellence in their chosen field of the arts. Individuals are prioritised due to the comparative lack of funding available to them.

How much can you apply for?
• There is no maximum or minimum grant level, but the average grant is expected to be £500

Who can apply?
• Individuals resident in the county of Cumbria.

Please refer to Cultural Fund Guidelines for full criteria before downloading the individual application forms.