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£600,000 to benefit good causes across Cumbria

More than £600,000 has been awarded to a range of good causes in Cumbria, tackling issues including rural isolation, loneliness and climate change.

Over 100 grants totalling £603,195 were given out to community organisations and individuals at two recent Cumbria Community Foundation grants committee panels.

The money came from funds set up by local people and businesses including Westmorland Ltd, Fibrus and Thomas Graham & Sons.

93 community groups received a total of £578,626 towards a wide range of projects across the county, and 28 individuals benefited from £24,569 towards the cost of overseas trips, attending sporting competitions, and equipment and course fees.

A group of people standing on a bowling green in bowling outfits
Carlisle Subscription Bowling Club

Carlisle Subscription Bowling Club received £890 from Thomas Graham Grassroots Fund to pay for equipment and improved facilities, with the aim of attracting new members, to reduce social isolation and improve fitness, particularly among the over 55s.

Club Social Secretary David Whitfield said: “The grant funding will encourage and equip people of all ages to come and try bowling free of charge.

“Bowling is an activity with both physical and social benefits that we think will offer the opportunity of meeting people in a relaxed and social setting and hopefully developing a new shared interest in the sport – and if not in bowling, then at least have people think about other outdoor and social sporting activities which they can try and possibly develop an interest in, with the associated benefits to them as individuals.”

Clifton Info Pod

Clifton Community Council was awarded £4,300 from the ENWL Storm Arwen Community Resilience Fund towards the Clifton Info Pod Community Resilience Project.

The Info Pod is a former BT phone box which has been transformed into a community hub, housing a book swap and noticeboards. The funding will pay for the installation of a sustainably powered mobile phone charging point with battery storage system, a battery powered radio, and a community digital information hub with Wi-Fi access point and digital display screen for the sharing of crucial community information.

Becx Carter, of Clifton Community Council, said: “In the past three years alone, Clifton has suffered three major power outages for a number of hours during which the ability to charge mobile phones and access local radio would have been invaluable.

“Clifton, despite its relatively close proximity to Penrith, is a community ‘out on its own’ when bad weather emergencies happen. A sustainable powered mobile phone charging hub for use during these times is vital to ensure that people’s mobile phones can continue to be used for access to critical information, contacting emergency services and staying connected with family.”

Members of 3rd Wigton Squirrels standing with their flagA grant of £1,000 was awarded to 3rd Wigton Sea Scouts from Castles & Coasts Housing Association Community Fund towards the cost of setting up a Squirrel group – the youngest and newest section of the Scouts for those aged four to six.

Leader Lynne Wright said: “3rd Wigton Squirrels opened in early January this year and has been very successful, with an ever-increasing waiting list due to its popularity.

“We hope that as the little ones grow, they will progress to Beavers and then Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. They will learn about community and learn life skills along the way. They will make friends and very importantly have fun along their Scouting journey.

“We have strong community links and have done tree planting, litter picking and the like. They are all local children and we expect to see the benefits of having focused young people out in the community at large as they get older.”

South Lakeland Action on Climate Change (SLACC) was awarded £20,000 from the myLakeland Fund towards the development of new premises for its Waste into Wellbeing project.

The organisation currently runs Kendal Community Food Larder at Stricklandgate House and Kendal People’s Café at South Lakes Foyer. Their aim is to streamline its operation onto one site, building a professional catering kitchen to serve the café, process gluts of produce into pre-prepared meals and offer a dedicated training space for learners.

Stacy Hurley, Development Manager for Waste into Wellbeing, said: “We have been looking for a permanent base, which we’ve secured at the old United Reformed Church in Highgate, Kendal. The myLakeland grant will enable us to install a state-of-the-art catering kitchen. It will also house our community cooking project.”

Annalee Holliday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these worthy organisations that are working hard during these difficult times to meet local needs.”

For more information or to apply for funding, call the grants team on 01900 820827 or email grants@cumbriafoundation.org.

 

Supporting care leavers in Cumbria

A new national programme of support for young care experienced adults has been launched throughout England. Managed by UK Community Foundations, the Care Leavers Programme has a primary focus of improving the life chances of care leavers through decentralised funding into regions around the country.

The £3.6 million match fund scheme will run over three years and is being funded by the Local Authorities’ Mutual Investment Trust (LAMIT), a shareholder of the UK’s biggest charities asset manager, CCLA.

There were 46,000 care leavers between 17 and 21 years old in England alone in 2022. Each year, young people leaving the care system immediately meet a range of challenges that their peers might not experience.

Deficiencies in transitional and practical support mean that care leavers are often less likely to get the help they need to make a fresh start as a young adult. Gaps in support have been found when it comes to relationships and mentoring, education, employment and mental health.

In the year ending March 2023, 71% of care experienced young people in Cumbria, aged between 17-18 were in education, employment, or training compared to the 66% national average. However, by the age of 19-21 there were higher rates of those not in education, employment, or training (42%), compared to the national figure (38%), showing a considerable drop in engagement between 18 and 21 years of age.

Cumbria Community Foundation is working closely with Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council, Cumbria Youth Alliance and Inspira as part of their strategic approach to help care experienced young people transition into adulthood.

Brighter Futures

The Brighter Futures programme offers personalised support, which includes both one-to-one personal and professional work-based mentoring, bespoke life skills development and work-experience placements tailored to their aspirations. In addition, employers and training providers will be equipped with the knowledge and understanding needed to support care experienced young people to thrive in a work-based environment.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of LAMIT, said: “We are delighted to be working with both Cumbria Community Foundation and their partner local authorities Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council to deliver extra support to young people within the care system that badly need it. This fund of £275,000, which includes funding of £115,500 from CCLA over three years, will provide that little bit of extra support that is vital for care experienced young people.

“Nationally, our care system is creaking at the seams despite the best endeavours of dedicated professionals such as social workers and probation officers. We need to find innovative approaches for young people who have left care, in which society can wrap its arm around them in the same way that we as parents and grandparents wrap our arms around the young people in our own family.

“Over the next three years we hope to hold a series of events both nationally and here in Cumbria to learn from what has been achieved and challenge all partners and potential partners, such as the NHS and the criminal justice system, to work together in a more challenging and holistic way.”

Jenny Benson
Jenny Benson

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The Brighter Futures programme has been co-designed with a range of stakeholders and fully informed by the experiences of care experienced young people. It specifically addresses gaps in current provision, encourages collaboration, engages employers, and has the potential to positively influence national policy.”

Rosemary Macdonald BEM, Chief Executive at UK Community Foundations, said: “Inequalities for care leavers differ from region to region, and this true for those living in Cumbria. It is key that we harness the knowledge of local organisations to not just fund fantastic projects for young people leaving the care system, but to nurture those relationships and keep the momentum going to make real change happen.

“By supporting individual care leavers and supportive organisations in Cumbria, Cumbria Community Foundation will be able to use this programme as a way of uniting communities and authorities, to explore local solutions to local issues and use the learning to influence wider support.”

Councillor Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association, said: “Councils support thousands of young people who become care leavers every year, whether that is finding a home to live in or help into work. Alongside our communities, the LGA is delighted to be able to support this fantastic new initiative which can help to transform care leavers’ lives as they make the transition into adulthood.”