Cumbria Communication Project Fund

Established in 2020 by Jim Bowers, the Cumbria Communication Project Fund is a strategic programmatic approach to grant-making. It works with disadvantaged families and provides meaningful interventions to promote and improve speech and language development in 0-3 year olds.

Jim was born and grew up on a council estate in Manchester and is from a large family. He attended Cambridge University and became a teacher, a Principal Education Officer for Durham County Council and former owner of Witherslack Group.

Jim has a commitment and passion for supporting the 20% of children who do not succeed and/or gain basic skills during early life and school. This can influence and increase the risk of emotional and behavioural difficulties and can lead to mental health issues, or sometimes offending behaviour.

He believes children that grow up in a language rich environment are far more likely to succeed at school and in the wider world.

Jim said: “In my experience, Cumbria Community Foundation is more than a fundraising organisation and a distributor of grants. Because of the relationship they form with donors and service providers, they form a bridge between people doing amazing work with local communities and those with the motivation and means to support them. This allows me to feel connected to the organisations I’ve helped, and my association with the Foundation has now evolved so that we are working in partnership to facilitate innovative projects.”

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, members of the Cumbria Communication Project include Howgill Family Centre, Brathay Trust, Love Barrow Families, I CAN and the University of Cumbria.

Using a mix of home-based, nursery-based and centre-based learning with practitioner training and parental involvement, the programme runs over three years and aims to help children and their families develop the language and communication skills they need to start school and succeed in their education.