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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

Working together to battle the COVID-19 outbreak

Communities are pulling together to support vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to funding from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund.

This week, a further £142,293 was awarded from the Fund, set up by Cumbria Community Foundation, to projects helping families on low incomes, homeless people, isolated older people and many more get through the coronavirus crisis.

The impact of COVID-19 on low-income households is likely to be more severe in the short term and recovery for these families will take much longer. The closure of schools places an additional strain on families who rely on the financial and social support that schools provide and who also need to work, while social distancing and lockdown make it difficult to maintain routine budgetary practices for managing on a low income.

Barrow is one of the most deprived areas in the county, one in three children are living in poverty. To help meet the additional needs and concerns of local people, the community has come together to create a coordinated community response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Barrow Borough Community Resilience Forum works closely with the Local Resilience Forum and includes representatives from six charities: The Well, Love Barrow Families, Women’s Community Matters, Drop Zone Youth Project, Age UK Barrow and self-harm awareness charity SAFA. It received £74,580 to ensure that all parts of the borough have access to support, advice, and practical help. In addition, organisations with expertise in key areas such as older people, mental health, families and addiction issues will be called on to work together to support those most at risk.

Love Barrow families is working with Drop Zone Youth Projects and The Well to deliver a meal each week to families who are most in need. Trina Robson, Director at Love Barrow Families, said: “This crisis has taken away the place where our families came together, and we are doing our best to continue to reach out to everyone and to put people in touch with each other. We know that it is relationships and love that count, and we are finding as many ways as possible to provide this. One way is through our volunteers providing a home cooked meal for all the families who need it every week and an activity or challenge that families can complete. We are using various means of having fun and staying in touch remotely and the funding will help us to do this. For our families this is a lifeline. It means that they can access the right support, be that psychological or practical, from the right place at the right moment to stay well and keep going through this difficult time.”

Rebecca Robson, Senior Officer at Women’s Community Matters, which has joined them in delivering meals and activities to the families they work with, said: “I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has donated to Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund. We now have the privilege of being able to share the generosity of all those who donated with those who need it most.  I have seen and heard the comments from some of the families who will benefit, and I can assure you that it means more than we can ever measure.”

Drugs and alcohol rehabilitation support service, The Well, has adapted to offer online support seven days a week. Support includes virtual fitness classes and online meetings to help with Universal Credit, food bank vouchers, meals and support with addiction. Some clients live in rural areas such as Millom and the charity also supports the Egerton Court community now the Hub is closed. Ged Pickersgill, Senior Development Manager at The Well said: “In these unprecedented times, statutory services and the local third sector have come together to assist some of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakelands most vulnerable individuals. The Well Communities are proud to be a small cog in a much bigger wheel.”

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants and Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There is an incredible network of organisations that are passionate about their work. The Barrow Borough Community Resilience Forum is a great example of how people in Cumbria are proactively responding to the coronavirus outbreak. The effects of shielding and self-isolation can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental wellbeing. By working collaboratively across all sectors to support residents with their needs during this time, whether it be with food, prescription collection, coping both physically and mentally, the project aims to reduce the impact that the current crisis is having on residents to bring about the best possible outcome.

“This project will offer community support and resilience services that have grown from community groups since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. We can only support these groups thanks to the generosity of our donors. We continue to ask everyone who can give to the Fund, to please do so.”

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.


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.