Investing in communities

12th November 2020

Cumberland Building Society has worked with Cumbria Community Foundation since 2011, when we first administered its charitable foundation fund. In 2019, the business wanted to give more to the community and created the Cumberland Building Society Community Fund within the Foundation, which awarded just under £100,000 in its first year.

Chief Executive, Des Moore, said: “We’re keen to make even more of a difference in our communities and working with Cumbria Community Foundation in this way means we will be able to make larger, strategic contributions to projects that have a longer-lasting impact.

“Our purpose is to make a difference to people’s lives and that applies not just to the services we offer, but the part we play in the community. As well as the financial contributions we can make to help projects, we are also keen to offer practical help. Many of our people get involved and volunteer their time and we hope they can work with charities to offer a brighter, more positive future to those people in our communities who are in real need.”

A charity which helps young Cumbrians leaving care was awarded £20,000 from the fund. The Stepladder of Achievement Programme gives teenagers the chance to earn up to £1,500 in a savings account by completing an online course in financial and life skills, ready for when they leave care aged 18.

“If I hadn’t done the Stepladder programme I genuinely don’t know where I would be. The whole aim is to make you more employable and confident in your abilities,” says one 19-year-old from West Cumbria who left care last year.

She now has a job and says: “It was all good information that I wouldn’t have got elsewhere. The section on ‘making my money work’ was very helpful for me, moving to living independently. It’s like a security blanket. Growing up is generally scary but if you don’t have that family support system behind you it is even more difficult.”

The programme, supported by Cumbria Youth Alliance, aims to help combat the disadvantage faced by young people in care. Forty per cent of 19-year-olds who have been in care are not in education, employment or training compared to 13 per cent of the general population.