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Funding available for community projects supporting architectural merit in Cumbria

Community projects of architectural merit in Cumbria are being encouraged to apply for financial support from a fund set up in memory of a much-love father.

The Geoffrey Blake Architectural Heritage Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, was set up by a daughter in loving memory of her father, who had a long-standing interest in historical architecture.

Community projects run by voluntary or charitable groups that support architectural merit and enhance people’s experience and understanding of the built environment are welcome to apply.

Projects must have full access to the public and have a clear benefit to the community.

The Foundation is eager to hear from projects that include the renovation of community features and landmarks, e.g. wells, crosses and memorials, the renovation of features of public buildings or the creation of new work including sculptures and other built features.

The first grant was awarded to Fitz Park Charitable Trust for the refurbishment of the exterior of PUPS Shelter in Keswick.

The shelter was built in 1939 by the Pushing Young People’’s Society (PUPS).  Their aim was to provide activities and engagement for young people by carrying out charitable work and raising money to build the shelter in Fitz Park near to the War Memorial.

A spokesperson for the Fitz Park Charitable Trust said:“Fitz Park Trust is grateful for the support of Cumbria Community Foundation as it will ensure that the shelter  is restored as close to the original in design and purpose as possible.

“The grant will have a huge benefit in restoring this heritage asset in Keswick. It will take the shelter from a run-down structure, which is now looking very tired, and improve the overall street scene in an area, making this area a more attractive place to encourage people to meet up as well as place for quiet reflection.”

Since 1999, the Foundation has been bringing people who love Cumbria together to make the county stronger, so Cumbria can thrive and meet the challenges communities face and achieve their full potential.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Programmes Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “This fund provides valuable funds for projects of architectural merit in Cumbria. It is important that people can experience local heritage and it’s great that we have a fund that supports the renovation of community features and landmarks.”

For more information or to apply visit, or call Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants Officer on 01900 820827 or email

Community fund awards first grants

Wigton-based CCL secure, the global expert in polymer banknote substrate, has awarded its first grants from its new charitable fund that benefits people and communities in Allerdale and Copeland.

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, the CCL Secure Fund has supported five community groups across West Cumbria.

Times and StarThe gym at the Oval Centre in Workington, which is run by social enterprise, Fit 4 Life, received £1,000 towards new equipment. Fit 4 Life offers a safe and friendly environment for people with chronic health conditions and is a low-cost alternative to mainstream fitness centres. (Image – Times and Star)

Dougie Pomfret, Manager at Fit 4 Life said: “We have been able to purchase two new exercise bikes with the grant, which will make our clients experience with us even better than it was before.

“We have lots of sessions on offer including cardiac, stroke and pulmonary rehabilitation, over 50’s sessions and sessions for general public. People with a range of health conditions such as high blood pressure, weight problems, diabetes, heart disease and more can join, and our team of specialist instructors are there to guide people back to fitness.”

Wigton Youth Station received £1,273, which contributed to keeping the centre open for the next year. It has been established for 21 years and provides a safe, social space for local youngsters in the area twice a week. Angela Bicknell, Centre Manager, said: “We’ve been very lucky to receive such support and I’m happy to say the Foundation has been a long-term supporter of the work we do.

“On average, we have 25-30 young people through the doors on any one night, with over 70 members in total. Wigton Youth Station is well equipped and experienced in addressing and working alongside our young people, their families and their communities. We work on prevention and early intervention to provide information and support, to change negative attitudes and their long-term prospects.”

Other organisations to benefit include Wigton Baths Trust and 3rd Wigton Sea Scout Group, both receiving £1,000 each and North Allerdale Development Trust received £2,000.

Mark Lancaster, HR Manager-EMEAC, said: “The community is essential to the success of the CCL Secure plant and we are delighted to have confirmed our first grants from the CCL Secure Community fund. The whole team at CCL Secure are looking forward to making a sustainable impact across Cumbria over the months and years to come.”

Annalee Holliday, Grants Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “This is an exciting time for us to be working with Mark and the CCL Team, who like many Cumbrian businesses are committed to finding ways to help their community. These organisations play a big part in holding communities together especially during times when local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.”

For more information about the fund or to apply, visit or call the grants team at Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760.

Funding available for Clifton and Winscales groups

Community organisations near the Winscales Moor Wind Farm are encouraged to apply for funding.

The Winscales Moor Community Benefit Fund supports community, educational, environmental, or sporting related activities. Examples of projects that the fund will support include improvements to community buildings, increased use of renewable energy and nature conservation.

The fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, was set up by Your Energy Ltd to deliver a range of community benefits in association with the wind farm. Community groups in the parishes of Winscales, Great Clifton and Little Clifton are eligible to apply.

Earlier this year, Cumbria Wildlife Trust received £2,100 for its Get Cumbria Buzzing project. The grant focussed on work in the Winscales area as Graham Jackson-Pitt, Senior Living Landscape Officer, explains: “The fund has helped to really get Cumbria buzzing! This new initiative, delivered through Cumbria Wildlife Trust and other local partners on and around Cumbria’s west coast, has been working with local communities to increase numbers and diversity of pollinating insects including bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

“The project has been working at the Great Clifton roundabout and on both the Distington and Stainburn by-pass with Highways England and local volunteers to clear unwanted scrub, plant wildflowers and spread their seed. We’re also working with partners to make sure that the future management of these sites is correct and will make long-lasting positive changes to these local green spaces.”

Gary Higgs, Grants & Donor Services Officer said: “We’re very proud to have been managing the Winscales Moor Community Benefit Fund since 2008. Almost £45,000 has been distributed to local community groups and projects in the Winscales area. We want to support and encourage more projects that promote and/or implement the sustainable use of energy and resources.”

The deadline for the next round of applications is 28th February 2020. For more information on the Fund contact Gary Higgs on 01900 825760.

The hidden heroes

In West Cumbria, there are currently around 1,700 young carers. Take Cara for example, she is 14 years old and devotedly cares for her mother who has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair. Without Cara’s devotion and motivation, there would be no one to do practical jobs around the home including washing, cleaning and food shopping.

Being a young carer can leave you feeling isolated and excluded. West Cumbria Carers supports young carers like Cara. It offers one to one support for those who are particularly in crisis or at high risk and those whose education has been impacted by their caring role. A big part of its role is providing respite for the young carers. Cara loves the trips and activities, particularly the summer sports activities and dry slope skiing.

West Cumbria Carers operates across Allerdale and Copeland and provides support to 1,900 adult carers and 300 young carers, some as young as five. Since 2006, the charity has received more than £256,000 to support carers in West Cumbria.

Grants have supported outreach work, one to one sessions, summer respite activities and targeted small group activities, which included a group of young carers who have siblings with an illness or disability.

The one to one sessions really helped Cara when she was feeling stressed. She could talk to a support worker and they worked together to help her develop strategies to improve her emotional resilience and help her deal with stress.

Another young person who has benefited from one to one support is 11 year old Jessica. She is a young carer for her mother who has a mental health condition. Jessica doesn’t know if her mum will be at home or not when she returns from school. Her mum tries to shield her as much as possible but she knows that Jessica still worries about her. Jessica also worries about her own mental health and whether she will develop the same illness as her mum.

When Jessica first joined the young carer’s project, she was very shy and didn’t like to mix with the other children. Two years later, she is a regular at the groups and trips and has made lots of new friends. Jessica said: “It’s nice to be able to talk to other children who understand what it’s like to be a young carer.”

There are around 17,000 carers in West Cumbria with over 3,000 providing more than 50 hours a week of care. While people who are cared for qualify for a variety of benefits, carers themselves usually are only able to claim carers’ allowance, which means they are usually on a low income. Many carers also have their own health problems due to the physical demands of the care they undertake.

Support to adult carers includes driving carers to health appointments, providing volunteers to sit with people so carers can go out, and helping them access information, advice and services. The charity also provides training to local businesses to help them manage working carers in their workforce.

Andrea Carlton, a senior support worker, said: “Social isolation both for the carer and the cared for person is huge. We try to get people to come to us before their situation reaches crisis point. There’s a lot of people aged between 45-65 who are at the peak of their careers that are also in a caring role.”

Angela Longrigg, volunteer and projects coordinator, added: “We also have many ‘sandwich carers’ who have young children and are also caring for a parent. They have no time for themselves and tend to put their own health at the bottom of the list.”

Grants from Cumbria Community Foundation have supported several projects including supporting carers over the winter months and establishing Lasting Power of Attorney’s for clients. Grants have also enabled staff at the Carers Clinic, based at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, to continue to provide emotional and practical support to carers of those who have been admitted to hospital.

Half a million windfall thanks to offshore wind farm

Communities along the coast of Allerdale have shared more than half a million pound thanks to an energy firm’s investment over the last ten years.

The Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund was set up when the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm was built by energy company, E.ON, just off the coast of Workington. Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation since 2009, the fund has provided grants of up to £15,000 to community projects along the Allerdale coast that promote sustainable use of energy and resources, reduce climate change, and support nature conservation.

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre (CBDC) received £10,000 to recruit local volunteers to map, identify and record the habitats and species along the Solway plain.

Deborah Muscat, Manager at CBDC, said: “Much is known about the birds and Natterjack toads in the area but there is less information about the whereabouts of other plants and animals. Thanks to the funding, the Solway Nature Network was set up in 2018 to discover more about the natural history of the Solway.

“We recruited 24 volunteers and through a series of guided walks and training sessions, they developed their wildlife identification skills and started to record what they saw – over 1,000 records have been submitted, covering over 580 different species. Over half of the records are plant species, but we also know of other wildlife including birds, beetles, butterflies and fungi, some of which are nationally rare or protected.

“We have also been able to support the volunteers to take part in other activities such as Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Get Cumbria Buzzing project, the National Plant Monitoring Scheme and CBDC’s recording days. The more practice the volunteers have, the better they become and the more likely we will continue to receive information from them.”

Maryport Inshore Rescue received two grants totalling £19,838. Mike Messenger, Operations Manager, said: “In 2013, we installed an environmentally-friendly rainwater harvesting system and the first set of solar panels on the east side of the building. We were supported once again earlier this year to install additional solar panels on the west side of the building. This has reduced our carbon footprint and has reduced our energy bill significantly, which is fantastic as funds saved go towards the running costs of the charity.

“We would like to thank the E.ON and all at Cumbria Community Foundation for their help and support, not only from this fund but from all the other successful funding applications we have submitted over the last decade. Our organisation would not be half as good as it is now without the support of the Cumbria Community Foundation.”

In Workington, Northside Community Centre received £23,790 from the Robin Rigg Fund for the installation of solar panels and the replacement of internal light fittings.

Stella Kent, Centre Manager said: “Thanks to funding, we have been able to reduce the cost of our energy bills, which is great news in this current climate of ever rising energy bills. The installation of solar panels on the roof means we have benefited from using renewable energy and also receive an income from the feed-in tariff payments received for any excess electricity generated, which is exported to the local grid.”

Emma Skelton, Business Service Co-ordinator at E.ON, said: “The Robin Rigg West Community Fund has delivered some fantastic projects which have promoted the sustainable use of energy and resources, supported nature conservation and addressed other environmental needs of the communities local to Robin Rigg. I’m truly delighted with what has been achieved over the last decade and I would like to thank Cumbria Community Foundation for the big part they have played in making these projects a reality and a success.”

48 community organisations benefited from the fund, totalling more than £546,000. Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The fund provided a valuable, long-term, sustainable and reliable source of income for the local communities that neighbour the wind farm. Promoting sustainable living is so important these days, and funds set up by local businesses such as E.ON have been crucial in helping projects make a bigger impact in their area.

“The legacy of the Robin Rigg West Cumbria Fund will last for many years to come.”

Cricket club boosted by funding

Members of Tallentire Cricket Club are celebrating after receiving a grant for £1,858 from the Tallentire Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, the Tallentire Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund provides grants to support community, educational or environmental activities.

Stephen Moore said: “The members of Tallentire Cricket Club are pleased and grateful to have received a grant from the Tallentire Wind Farm Fund through Cumbria Community Foundation.

“This will be used to buy new equipment over the winter so that we shall be ready to go at the start of next season. Our club plays friendly matches against other villages and teams of similar standard on weekday evenings throughout the spring and summer. It is becoming harder to find sufficient opponents to provide a full fixture list for the season so if there are any other similar teams looking for a game, we should be glad to hear from them. We are doing our best to keep village cricket alive in this area.”

Tallentire Cricket Club

The six turbines at Tallentire Wind Farm began operating in summer 2013. RES established a community benefit fund with an initial £175,000 and around £30,000  annually for the lifetime of the wind farm. More than £300,000 has already been awarded to the communities neighbouring the Tallentire Wind Farm: Bridekirk, Blindcrake, Gilcrux and Plumbland.

Gary Higgs, Grant Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “The fund provides a valuable, long term, sustainable and reliable source of income for the local communities that neighbour Tallentire Wind Farm. It is flexible funding that can address what is really important to communities and we’re delighted to administer this funding which has been making a difference to the communities surrounding the Wind Farm.”

Cumbria Community Foundation was appointed by RES to manage the community fund. The Foundation works with communities to help them decide how funds should be allocated. Using its grant making expertise, the Foundation supports the community awarding grants that deliver a lasting impact.

Applications for funding must be received by Friday 6th December 2019 for a decision on 8th January 2020. For more information on the Tallentire Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund or to apply online, please visit or email

Over £89,000 awarded to help make a difference to Cumbrian communities

Community projects across the county have received a share of £89,000 to tackle issues around mental health, rural isolation, financial wellbeing and to improve access to sport and recreation.

26 charitable organisations received a share of the £77,144 at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants panel. The money came from 24 grant making funds, administered by the Community Foundation, including those set up by the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, the William Milburn Charitable Trust and Westmorland Family Community Fund.

18 people also received a share of 12,616 to help towards educational and vocational training fees.

The Lighthouse Community Mental Health Hub located at the rear of Stricklandgate House in Kendal can now provide a year of mental health support thanks to £3,500 from the Brian & Ann Clark Fund and Johnson Fund. The drop-in sessions are open to anyone wishing to maintain or improve their emotional or mental health.

Madeleine Iddon, Chair of Trustees said: “We provide a safe space for those in South Lakeland who may be struggling with their mental health or emotional wellbeing to drop-in, have a brew and a chat with trained peer support volunteers. This grant enables us to have stability in the lease of our hub, which acts as a home from home for many of our members.”

Penrith Cricket Sports and Social Club has 20 years of delivering high quality coaching. It was awarded £1,500 from the Rowan Fund and the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald Fund to support its volunteer expenses. This will increase the number of coaches and help deliver more sessions during both the winter and summer, and introduce female and disability sessions.

Andy Hall, Chairman, said: “We currently run nine teams and have plans to significantly increase the number of junior and senior teams, with women’s, girls and disability cricket being at the heart of the planned development over the next three years.

“To be able to maintain and significantly develop participation, we rely on volunteers giving their time to coach our players. The support of Cumbria Community Foundation is absolutely crucial to enabling us to develop and go a long way towards securing our long-term sustainability at the very heart of our local community.”

Other grants awarded include £5,500 to Kendal Gymnastics Club from the Castle Green Grassroots Fund, Cumbria Young People’s Grassroots Fund and the Fryer Grassroots Fund. The grant will help the club to relocate and expand into new premises. The club is extremely popular in the local region and more gymnasts wish to join than there is space available. The club wishes to set up a leadership academy for teenagers and adults to train to become a coach or judge.

Carlisle Society for the Blind received £5,000 from Abbeyfield Carlisle Society Over 55 Community First Fund and Janetta Topsy Laidlaw Trust Fund. The grant will support its regular, monthly home visiting service to 80 members with different levels of visual impairment and sight loss across the Carlisle district. This support to predominantly elderly people includes, general advice, demonstration of household adaptations, help in reading mail and writing letters.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Thanks to the generosity of our fundholders we are able to support many worthy community organisations around the county. These organisations are vital for tackling issues affecting our communities.”

The closing date for Cumbria Community Foundation’s next main grants panel is 27th September 2019. For more information, visit or call a member of the grants team on 01900 825760.

Showing care for those in despair

In one year alone, west Cumbrian charity, Allerdale Disability Association (ADA), unlocked more than four million pounds worth of benefits for people with disabilities.

You can see the gratitude by the abundance of thank you cards displayed. Everywhere you look there is another gesture of thanks. ADA helps people during their most vulnerable and desperate times.

For most people it helps, it is a life changing service. But for others, the wait, the uncertainty, and the stress, is too much. ADA knows of people who have been driven to thoughts of suicide. Four men have taken their own lives waiting for their benefits appeals to be heard.

Last year, ADA, based in Moorclose Community Centre in Workington, helped 900 people through its information service.

Paul Parkinson, Information and Benefits Advisor, helps people navigate their way through the benefits system. In the past, people were given awards for life under the Disability Living Allowance scheme. Now with Personal Independence Payments, people must apply every two years, even if their disability hasn’t changed.

He said: “People are living on money from family, friends, fresh air or they are getting into debt.

“Three of my clients have committed suicide in three years. I went to an appeal tribunal with the widow of a fourth. I try to help clients with everything from filling in forms to appeals and supporting families during the tribunal hearings in court. Just last week, £80,000 of benefits were claimed back for clients after being turned down.”  

According to a recent BBC report, a third of people do not appeal the DWP’s decision because ‘the process would be too stressful’ while one in five said they were too unwell to challenge it. The same report featured people selling their belongings to survive as waiting times are more than 12 months for a successful appeal.

Despite this grim picture, there is hope. One client, 58 year old Paul, saw his benefits halve under the new system. Thanks to ADA, his benefits were fully restored. He said: “It made a lot of difference; it was really helpful.”

While getting people’s benefits payments are a life-changing aspect of ADA’s work, it is the regular weekly support that changes the quality of life for its members.

Twice a week, the doors of the centre are thrown open and anyone with a physical disability, their families and carers are welcome to come and spend time together. It’s a place where people can relax, learn new skills and meet new friends, or just as 43 year old John said: “I have only one leg and my dad cares for me and my mum who has rheumatoid arthritis. It is a place to go, there’s good conversation and a friendly atmosphere. It gets me out of the house two days a week and it gives my dad a bit of a break.”

In addition to the normal activities, the charity also organises trips to various places and in 2004, after hearing that the local Talking Newspaper group was to disband, the charity took it over and a team of volunteers have continued to record the weekly disc ever since.

Tracey Parker is the manager of ADA. She co-ordinates all the activities and fills out more than 50 fundraising applications a year to keep the centre going.

Cumbria Community Foundation has given more than £138,000 to ADA since 2002. Tracey said: “It costs £68,000 a years to run the charity. The Foundation is a godsend. Its continued support has kept us open and has helped us unlock funding from other sources.” 

Tracey has worked for the charity for 21 years. Its current chairman, Peter Mallyon, has been part of ADA for 25 years. Both are committed to providing a safe and supportive place for people living with disabilities.  

Their kind nature and welcoming spirit is evident in the way the members talk about them. David has been a regular attender for two decades. He has 24 hour care at home and said: “Tracey and Peter are like family to me.” The smile on David’s face says it all, this is a place where he feels safe and enjoys the company of his ‘extended family’.

ADA will continue to help west Cumbrian’s through the appeals process with the help from external funding. However the debt, frustration and stress ensued is causing people’s health to deteriorate and in some cases making their disability worse.

Cumbria Young People’s Fund (Individuals)

The fund was created through an anonymous legacy gift of £1.2m – the donor was a retired teacher who cared passionately about helping young people. It aims to support applications which will make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people in Cumbria by supporting study or vocational training.

How much can you apply for?
• Maximum grant will normally be £2,000 and we expect to make no more than three grants but we would expect most awards to be in the region of £500 to £750.

Who can apply?
• Individuals aged 14-22 years living in Cumbria with priority given to young people from Barrow and Carlisle.
• Applicants will need to provide evidence of excellence in their chosen fields and/or evidence of how you will/are raising aspirations for young people in West Cumbria

Please refer to Cumbria Young People’s Fund (Individuals) Guidelines for full criteria before downloading the individual application form.


Hunter Davies Fund

The donor advised fund has been set up by Cumbrian author and journalist Hunter Davies to help young people further their education into University. It also provides funding support to the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.

The bursaries will support Cumbrian students who attend either Trinity School in Carlisle or Cockermouth School and students are to be nominated by their Head Teacher.

Before considering a nomination to this fund please read the Hunter Davies Fund Guidelines.

This is not an open access fund and is not open to direct applications.