Cumbria Community Recovery Appeal

The horrors of 2001 are still fresh in the memory of those who endured it. As the Foot and Mouth crisis deepened, it stopped Cumbria in its tracks. Almost 3,000 farms were affected by the disease. More than one million animals were culled, their bodies burned on gruesome pyres or buried in mass graves.

It brought both the farming and tourism industries to their knees and many wondered how they could weather such a crisis.

Foot and mouth was to be the first major test our ability to swiftly mobilise and fulfil our purpose in the face of an ongoing crisis.

The Foundation quickly created the Cumbria Community Recovery Appeal to assist people and communities affected by the outbreak. Our target was to help co-ordinate charitable and voluntary sector funding, raise £1.2m, and start delivering hardship grants as soon as we could.

The appeal distributed more than £2 million. And quickly: the first case of foot and mouth was detected in late February and the first grants were made in early April. There were to be 1,077 such grants to individuals and families affected either directly or indirectly.

More than 300 community groups received vital funding to support those living in badly-shaken rural areas and help communities to recover. Another £150,000 of funding seeded the £1m plus Strengthening Rural Communities Fund.

The list of initiatives the Recovery Appeal made possible was long. Cumbria Family Support was granted £10,500 to hire a part-time development worker to co-ordinate assistance for families in rural communities.

Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, deluged with requests for information and advice, received a £20,000 grant, and the funding helped staff and volunteers put on additional sessions of financial and debt advice and hire two key new staff.

Imaginative projects, from Age UK Carlisle & Eden’s ‘trip or treat’ scheme to Eden Arts’ artists’ residencies with local schools affected by the crisis, were awarded grants. All had one purpose – promoting community involvement and offering hope to replace despair.