Liddle Thomson Community First Fund

The Liddle Thomson Community First Fund was established by a local family committed to creating a better quality of life for young people in the county. It is one of Cumbria Community Foundation’s endowment funds, providing long-term support to local communities. The income, which is generated each year, awards grants to community groups working with young people in North Cumbria.

Fundholder, Caroline said: “We set up our fund in 2012 because we wanted to establish an organised way of helping young people in the north of the county. We have had so many opportunities in our lives thanks to good schooling and a supportive family and we wanted to give something back to those who don’t start with these sorts of advantages in life. By working with the Foundation, we know the money will go to the sort of projects we want to support and be spent wisely and effectively. It is a great way to help the community we live in.”

An old chair can turn the life around of a troubled teenager

North Allerdale Development Trust based in Wigton, works with 12 to 16-year-olds who are at risk of falling out of full time education and currently engages with five secondary schools in Allerdale. The eight-week upcycling project is an early intervention programme providing a hands-on practical approach to learning through upcycling old furniture. It received £600 from the Liddle Thomson Community First Fund to purchase materials.

The programme gives young people the time to discuss and explore their own opinions, choices and behaviours and helps them tackle their issues so that they are more likely to engage in education and less likely turn to crime or re-offend. As well as the practical aspects, youngsters learn skills such as time management, interaction, budgeting, customer service and teamwork, all of which are essential to getting back to education or further training.

Nicola Bedlington, Project Leader, said: “Most of the kids who come here are at a fork in the road. The chair challenge, where we get them to restore and upcycle a broken chair takes about three four-hour sessions. They can then keep the chair or sell it to help fund the project. The rest of the weeks are spent working as a team on a group piece.”