It’s a welcome start to the year for good causes across Cumbria and North Lancashire after they received a share of almost three quarters of a million pounds.
The money came from funds set up by local people and businesses including Castle Green Hotel, Herdy and the Westmorland Family, which are administered by Cumbria Community Foundation.
26 community groups received support to deliver activities that will tackle mental health issues, help those with disabilities, provide advice and guidance to people on low incomes, offer hospice and bereavement support, purchase equipment for emergency rescue services, and assist older people who are vulnerable or isolated. 21 people also received financial support to help with further education and training costs.
In Sedbergh, a new ‘Community Maker Space’ will be developed thanks to £3,000 from the Herdy Fund. Settlebeck Parents, Teachers and Friends Association will use the funds to upgrade the design and technology facilities at Settlebeck School so that it can begin a programme of evening classes open to pupils, parents and members of the community who wish to learn more about computer aided design and manufacturing.
Steph Williams for Settlebeck Parents, Teachers and Friends Association, said: “As a very small rural secondary school we pride ourselves in providing pupils with a bespoke educational experience, which is often difficult to find in larger schools, ensuring that every child has the chance to thrive. Alongside this, we continue to seek opportunities to develop our high-quality facilities. We have a close relationship with the Sedbergh community and surrounding area and have been looking for ways to further strengthen those links.”
Diane Hannah, Co-founder Director, Herdy said: “When we heard about the Settlebeck project we instantly wanted to provide the outstanding funds to make it happen. Herdy is a design led business, so this project is very close to our heart. Not only are we happy to contribute financially but there are loads of opportunities for us to work with the pupils too once the facility is up and running. We’d love to share our knowledge and experience with the pupils and work on some live Herdy projects with them.”
The social and economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for communities and many of those are also suffering from an increased sense of isolation, poor mental health and increased financial problems. Formerly known as OpShops, Restore based in Carlisle, received £4,913 from the Pappagallino Fund and £3,000 from the Westmorland Family Community Fund towards two projects, which are helping to support local residents.
Chris Harwood, Pioneer Minister says: “This fantastic support will help us refurbish our new warehouse, creating a new community hub for our staff and volunteers. Funding will also help us to develop our community projects that promote social inclusion and care for the environment: ‘Men in Sheds’ and the ‘Community Allotment’. We plan to use the grant to upgrade and provide more tools, improve our safety equipment, and open the projects up to more people who may be struggling with their mental health or feeling lonely and isolated and in need of a supportive community. Many more vulnerable people will need support after the lockdown is over. Thanks to Cumbria Community Foundation’s generous fund holders we will be in a much better position to be able to offer this help.”
Up to 150 young women aged 14-16 in Carlisle will benefit from a £5,000 grant from Cumbria Young People’s Fund. iCan Health and Fitness based in Denton Holme will use the funding towards a six-week pilot programme offering a variety of physical exercise sessions in addition to promoting positive mental health, wellbeing and positivity through the WOW! iCan Be Me project.
Matthew Wood, Wheels of Wellness Project Manager at iCan Health and Fitness CIC, said: “The young women will all receive training from people with knowledge and lived experience and learn about respect for other people’s identity, culture and beliefs as well as acceptance of self-image, how to be more mindful and sleeping well techniques. This is set to the backdrop of rebounding sessions on our unique Wheels of Wellness facility.”
The Farmer Network works with over 1,150 farmers across Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. It received £6,500 from the Carr’s Group Fund and the Cumberland Educational Foundation to support its training voucher scheme. The vouchers, worth up to £200, are for young people working in farming to obtain technical training and certificates of competence. These certificates are legal requirements but are particularly expensive for smaller family farms to fund without financial assistance.
Project Manager, Veronica Waller, said: “Farmers need help with affording the cost of training more than ever with the changes to farm payments starting in 2021. This training allows younger farmers to offer their services as contractors in addition to working on their home farm and this additional income is particularly important at a time of unprecedented change.”
Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are many worthy organisations in Cumbria that are supporting communities during this unprecedented time. We are grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these vital services, especially during times when local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.”
To apply for a grant or for more information call a member of the grants team on 01900 825760.
Hellrigg Windfarm, operated by RWE Renewables is helping to transform its local communities through the Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.
Solway Community School Bike Club based in Solway Community School, received £1,323 to set up. The club aims to get students on their bikes and out into the countryside to improve fitness and wellbeing as well as helping with team building and leadership skills.
Based in Mawbray village, The Lowther Arms closed in December 2018. In May that year, Holme St Cuthbert’s parish council applied for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value, which allowed the newly formed group to bid and gave six months breathing space to consider all the options including a community buy-out.
The grant from Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has covered volunteer expenses, such as travel costs, meeting room and stationary, so that members of the group can progress with the process.
Chris Atkinson, Chairman, said “We’ve lost just about everything else in the parish, including the shop, post office, and most of our bus services.
“When we realised there was overwhelming support to buy the pub, we immediately began to organise ourselves. A local survey showed that most people want to save the heart of the village – a traditional pub serving traditional food, but with extra facilities like a small shop, meeting place, library, café and courier collection point.”
The group is supported by the Plunket Foundation’s More than a Pub initiative, funded by Power to Change with access to specialist business support.
St Andrew’s Church Hall, based in Silloth, benefits around 200 people in the community. The hall is part of St Andrew’s church and part of the West Cumbria Network. The hall provides a variety of activities, clubs and groups including a weekly lunch club, free legal advice, and social activities; for example craft classes. The hall is also available to hire.
The church has undergone a number of improvements over the past couple of years, including new windows and doors and redecoration.
This grant from Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund supported the renovation of the flooring in the main hall. Many of the users of the all are over 80 years of age and this has meant that the floor is now safe to walk on and without hazards.
The new floor is enjoyed by cubs, sewing classes, pensioners clubs, craft classes, yoga and over 30 people at its free lunches. They also hold evening dinner and entertainment.
Originally set up by Inspira, CYA started delivering the project in 2017 when Inspira pulled out. Running in collaboration with other youth organisations in Allerdale, it has had an appreciable impact on anti-social behaviour rates across the borough. It works in partnership North Allerdale Development Trust, Wigton Youth Station, Aspatria Dreamscheme, Castle Hill Trust, GLL, Soundwave and South Workington Youth Partnership.
Each organisation offers different youth-led activities in venues across the borough on a Friday night. This grant from the Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has supported young people aged between 11 and 19 come together to enjoy a wide range of activities such as team games, quiz nights, craft sessions and cookery workshops.
Cath Clarke, Chief Officer of Cumbria Youth Alliance, said: “Access to positive activities really assists with ensuring young people make a successful transition into adulthood. They become more engaged and we notice marked improvements in their behaviour. Many young people started on the programme as beneficiaries and have now moved into volunteering positions, helping more young people to benefit in the communities.
“Local police have remarked to the clubs what a difference this project makes to young people who often have nowhere else to go. It has led to reduction in petty and persistent offending in some of the most disadvantaged communities in West Cumbria.”
A warm welcome and a room full of laughter is what awaits you at Mirehouse Residents Group in Whitehaven.
Formed in 2008, the committee of seven encourage local residents and agencies to implement projects and events that get generations working together to improve their quality of life and reduce social isolation.
Activities run out of the Mirehouse Community Centre on Seathwaite Avenue, and with the assistance of grants from Cumbria Community Foundation, armchair aerobics, lunch club, arts and crafts and bingo have all been organised; making a great social setting for a good old craic.
Word quickly spread and members flocked in. The group started to plan for future activities and soon became a lifeline to many that may otherwise have become isolated from the community.
Since 2010, Mirehouse Residents Group has received £69,284 from the Foundation. The first grant enabled the local neighbourhood warden to relocate to the community centre and help address fears of crime in the community. Mirehouse is one of the most deprived wards in England and fear of crime is the biggest problem for its residents.
Grants have supported the running costs of the group and also the costs of community workshops such as poetry and song writing during National Poetry Week. This encouraged local people of all ages to take up creative writing.
Keith Cartner, Community Coordinator, said: “The project encouraged intergenerational activity, as well as improving basic skills in literacy and giving the residents the courage to put their work forward. It was the first time something of this nature had been tried in the heart of the community, and gave residents a first chance to engage in cultural performance and activity.
Jenny Doran who was born in 1927 loves writing poetry. In 1950 Jenny and her husband Billy got their first council house when Mirehouse was a small estate surrounded by fields. Jenny has been a regular at many of the group’s activities and is renowned for her poetry and also helps and encourages others to have a go themselves. This led to the production of Mirehouse Memories, which shared the collected stories of long-standing residents and their memories of life growing up on Mirehouse.
Jenny said: “Without the camaraderie created through Cumbria Community Foundation’s support, this could never have been imagined. Here is a poem from Jenny’s collection about her memories of one of Mirehouse’s community club’s:
The Calder Club was the place to go
The people of Mirehouse loved it so
Groups came from far and wide
Artists, singers, comedians, you were lucky to get inside.
People booked it for weddings, christening parties too
And some for funeral parties, which sadly wasn’t a ‘do’.
There was a lovely lounge, where people gathered for drinks and chat,
Men played cards and dominoes, while the women talked and sat.
There was badminton and bingo, a quiet snug to sit and browse,
To sit in peace and quiet, away from all the crowds
At Christmas there were parties, one for children too,
New Year’s Eve was a great night out, we were often there till two.
It was the best club in Cumbria and sadly now it’s gone,
But we will never forget the Calder Club,
For in our memories
It lives on.
Today you will find Edith Dickinson, a regular to Mirehouse Residents Group, sharing memories and tales of the past. She really does fill the room with laughter with her stories. Born in 1932, Edith has been a resident of Mirehouse for most of her life. She reminisces and remembers how ecstatic she was to move to the estate. Edith said: “The neighbours were all lovely. A lot of the people on the street have lived here as long as me, or longer. We talked to everybody; we knew everybody and talked over the fences. I have waited 26 years for a club like this!”
Grants have been used to introduce young people to new opportunities and increase their aspirations by engaging them in positive activities. Young people regularly attend its weekly youth group and take part in activities such as arts and crafts, cookery and sports sessions, and drug and alcohol awareness. The Food for Thought Project, proved very successful bringing together residents in a series of activities to help them to make better life choices, including healthy eating.
Alongside Food for Thought, the Fit for Life project has been getting families together for sessions incorporating health, exercise, cookery and other skills to help them towards a healthier lifestyle and increased confidence and self-esteem.
Another project keeping the community together is The Mirehouse Young Voices, which encouraged members of the youth group to work alongside the adults. The aim was to establish a youth voice and start challenging the poor opinions that the older generation often have of young people. It looked at how youngsters could develop their local environment by highlighting areas of concern or improvement from a young person’s perspective.
The area around Mirehouse cattle arch, used daily by school children and the community, had been littered with drug paraphernalia and attacked by vandals, and was ‘intimidating’ to older people. The youth group worked with The Colourful North to paint the walls of the arch, which has now become a much safer area to walk through as parents drop their children off and collect at school.
Mirehouse Residents Group continues to grow, and this group proves its residents are proud to live there and work as a community for the good of the neighbourhood.
Initial funding from Cumbria Community Foundation has helped the Northern Fells Group secure major funding to continue to run their Village Agents initiative in rural areas of Eden and Allerdale.
Big Lottery funding, totalling £175,270 will be drawn down over the next 5 years (October 2015 to September 2020) to consolidate the Northern Fells Group – Village Action Project – an initiative to provide 4 Village Agents, based in 4 villages, in the NGF’s catchment area and the popular Men in Sheds workshop and activities.
Northern Fells Group Village Agents
Village Agents work across the area, providing support to residents – linking them into other services, facilitating a wide range of social activities (including drop-ins, walking and singing groups and health promotional activities) and engaging them in oil syndicates, energy switch advice and other NFG services. The Men in Sheds Project runs a twice weekly woodwork session targeted on older men who may be retired, of ill health or socially isolated, bringing them together to share their practical skills and knowledge whilst creating a range of products including bird nesting boxes and Christmas decorations.
Jenny Bland, Chair of the Northern Fells Group commented: “We are delighted to receive this significant award from the Big Lottery Fund, which will ensure that we can continue to deliver and develop both our Village Agents and Men in Sheds projects.
Help for older people
These deliver essential services to older people by providing companionship, practical support and opportunities to engage in a range of community activities. This award will allow us to meet current and future demands, helping to combat rural social isolation and exclusion, alleviate deprivation, improve access to other services and enable older people to remain independent, living in their own homes.”
Funding the project
Matched funding for the Big Lottery grant has been awarded by The Joyce Wilkinson Trust and the Neighbourhood Care Independence Scheme funding, via Cumbria Community Foundation and the group’s own fundraising activities.
About the Northern Fells Group
The Northern Fells Group was launched in Caldbeck in 1999 by The Prince of Wales as one of his 3 Rural Revival Initiative Projects. It is a registered community charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee.
Its catchment area is the 7 parishes of Boltons, Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby, Ireby with Uldale, Mungrisdale, Sebergham & Welton and Westward & Rosley.
The NFG also provides a community minibus, a Lend a Hand scheme, Benefits Support, a medical loan scheme and Easter and summer youth activities. It is supported by 97 volunteers and 11 part time staff.
For more information contact Libby Graham, Fundraising Coordinator:
- 079495 08860 or 016974 7147