Hensman Acorn Fund


If you want to support local charitable activity, but are not sure which organisations exist or if your money will be used effectively, making a donation to the Foundation Grants Fund could give you the confidence and peace of mind that you need.

The Cumbria Fund is a permanent source of local funding to benefit our region. Donations of all sizes are pooled together to grow this unrestricted fund and respond to the growing needs of local communities by providing much-needed funding, year on year, to charitable organisations.

Enthused by the aims of the Foundation, Peter Hensman who is executive director of Lake District Estates, which owns Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and Ullswater Steamers, joined as one of 23 Trustees in 2000, taking over the chairmanship in 2003 until 2008. He established the Hensman Acorn Fund in 2006, alongside his wife Claire, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria and President of the Foundation. The return on the endowment contributes to the Cumbria Fund annually.

Peter said: “We wanted to set up the fund because one of Cumbria’s great strengths is its many wonderful communities which support the vital fabric of our lives. These frequently need funding to help them with their work. By setting up a fund with the Community Foundation, we could tap into their expertise and knowledge to ensure our money was wisely spent and that it was carefully invested so that the income continues to benefit the county for years to come.

“We have been able to start with a small contribution and add to it on a regular basis. This has allowed it to grow over time to a meaningful size, especially when we benefited from government match funding on our contributions.”

Susan’s Farm in Houghton, Carlisle, offers placements and skills training in land based qualifications. The social enterprise was recently awarded £12,000 over three years from the Foundations Grants Fund to work with vulnerable young adults and undertake accredited training in Agriculture.

Anyone who contributes to the Cumbria Fund can be confident that the money awarded is helping to catalyse change and fund innovative solutions to our county’s most challenging problems.