In West Cumbria, there are currently around 1,700 young carers. Take Cara for example, she is 14 years old and devotedly cares for her mother who has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair. Without Cara’s devotion and motivation, there would be no one to do practical jobs around the home including washing, cleaning and food shopping.
Being a young carer can leave you feeling isolated and excluded. West Cumbria Carers supports young carers like Cara. It offers one to one support for those who are particularly in crisis or at high risk and those whose education has been impacted by their caring role. A big part of its role is providing respite for the young carers. Cara loves the trips and activities, particularly the summer sports activities and dry slope skiing.
West Cumbria Carers operates across Allerdale and Copeland and provides support to 1,900 adult carers and 300 young carers, some as young as five. Since 2006, the charity has received more than £256,000 to support carers in West Cumbria.
Grants have supported outreach work, one to one sessions, summer respite activities and targeted small group activities, which included a group of young carers who have siblings with an illness or disability.
The one to one sessions really helped Cara when she was feeling stressed. She could talk to a support worker and they worked together to help her develop strategies to improve her emotional resilience and help her deal with stress.
Another young person who has benefited from one to one support is 11 year old Jessica. She is a young carer for her mother who has a mental health condition. Jessica doesn’t know if her mum will be at home or not when she returns from school. Her mum tries to shield her as much as possible but she knows that Jessica still worries about her. Jessica also worries about her own mental health and whether she will develop the same illness as her mum.
When Jessica first joined the young carer’s project, she was very shy and didn’t like to mix with the other children. Two years later, she is a regular at the groups and trips and has made lots of new friends. Jessica said: “It’s nice to be able to talk to other children who understand what it’s like to be a young carer.”
There are around 17,000 carers in West Cumbria with over 3,000 providing more than 50 hours a week of care. While people who are cared for qualify for a variety of benefits, carers themselves usually are only able to claim carers’ allowance, which means they are usually on a low income. Many carers also have their own health problems due to the physical demands of the care they undertake.
Support to adult carers includes driving carers to health appointments, providing volunteers to sit with people so carers can go out, and helping them access information, advice and services. The charity also provides training to local businesses to help them manage working carers in their workforce.
Andrea Carlton, a senior support worker, said: “Social isolation both for the carer and the cared for person is huge. We try to get people to come to us before their situation reaches crisis point. There’s a lot of people aged between 45-65 who are at the peak of their careers that are also in a caring role.”
Angela Longrigg, volunteer and projects coordinator, added: “We also have many ‘sandwich carers’ who have young children and are also caring for a parent. They have no time for themselves and tend to put their own health at the bottom of the list.”
Grants from Cumbria Community Foundation have supported several projects including supporting carers over the winter months and establishing Lasting Power of Attorney’s for clients. Grants have also enabled staff at the Carers Clinic, based at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, to continue to provide emotional and practical support to carers of those who have been admitted to hospital.
Community projects across West Cumbria tackling a range of issues including anti-social behaviour, health and wellbeing and unemployment have received a share of more than £280,000.
Cumbria Community Foundation awarded the money to more than 50 charitable groups at its quarterly West Cumbria grants panel. Funding was also given to 25 young people towards academic study and foreign travel.
Egremont Youth Partnership received £5,000 from the Lord Egremont Fund. James Bowden, Youth Centre Manager, said: “The youth group is grateful and delighted to have received support this year from Lord Egremont towards our core running costs, we entirely dependent on grant aid and fundraising. The need for youth provision within the town is high and the work we will deliver as part of this funding is essential to our young people. Over the next year we will continue to provide a varied programme for the young people of Egremont and the surrounding community with our variety of sessions delivered over 3 nights a week.”
Silloth on Solway Sport’s Association received £10,000 for a planned multi use games area from the Hellrigg Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund. Colin Baty, Assistant Secretary, said: “We are installing a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) in the town and this money will be used in the excavation and preparation of the area before a 3G Astro Turf can be laid.
“The MUGA will greatly enhance the outdoor sport’s facilities in Silloth, especially during the dark winter months as there is currently no provision with adequate lighting for the local community to access.”
Last year, Cleator Moor Celtic Football Club was promoted into the Hallmark Security Football League Division One North, which is Step 6 in the FA football pyramid but needed to undertake pitch improvements work to play in the League. Thanks to a grant of £10,000 from the United Utilities Legacy Fund, work can now begin. David Graham, Project Manager, said: “The aim is to bring the pitch up to recognised Sport of England standards for winter pitch use. The money will also act as match funding when we apply to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.”
Cumbria Police Community Support Officer said: “The club is an excellent environment for the younger members of the community and it also provides an outlet for their parents who regularly attend the club on a social basis. It plays an important part in the whole community and is an essential teaching tool that provides children with a sense of pride and hopefully inspires them to continue to excel in the field of sports.”
1st Seaton Scout Group can now build a brand-new community facility after receiving £30,000 from the United Utilities Legacy Fund. The current scout hut is nearly 85 years old and has been on the same site in the village for more than 40 years. After successfully fundraising to develop a new facility, the grant from United Utilities was the last bit of funding the group needed to begin the building work.
Mike Ditchburn, Acting Chairman of the Scout Group, said: “It felt like Christmas had come early when we were told by Cumbria Community Foundation that we had been awarded a grant of £30,000 from the United Utilities Legacy Fund on 20 December 2019.”
Brian Hemming, who is working on behalf of 1st Seaton Scout Group to raise funds for the new facility, said: “On telling the group of the good news, it was decided that we should all start the New Year by polishing up picks and spades and start on the site this year. The whole group, including our 70 scouts, wish to thank Cumbria Community Foundation and United Utilities, and the whole community for supporting us in achieving our target.”
The closing date for the next West Cumbria grants panel is 22nd February 2019. For more information, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org or call a member of the grants team on 01900 825760.
It was a cold and wet start to the year for the team at Cumbria Community Foundation who have so far raised more than £4,500 for charitable causes right across the county.
Staff and trustees kick-started a year-long fundraising campaign to celebrate the charity’s 20th anniversary in 2019, by splashing out and venturing into the chilly waters of Windermere on 8th January.
The money raised will go into the Cumbria Fund, which awards more than £100,000 to 50 community projects each year and helps improve the lives of disadvantaged people across Cumbria.
It’s all part of a year of special events called ‘Giving Back, Looking Forward’, which will celebrate the charity’s achievements to date and encourage the community to get involved in their own fundraising challenges.
Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer at the Foundation, said: “This year is the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary and we’ve set ourselves the target of raising £250,000 for the Cumbria Fund over the next 12 months. We hope that we have inspired other people to set themselves a challenge in 2019 and support the fundraising appeal.”
Some of the charities to benefit from the Cumbria Fund include: West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support, known as the Freedom Project, Furness Homeless Support, South Lakeland Mind, Allerdale Disability Association, Carlisle Mencap, Cumbria Deaf Association, Eden and South Lakeland Credit Union, Windermere Youth Project and many more.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said the dip was “Absolutely exhilarating. It’s great to do this with the team as we celebrate our 20 year anniversary.
“The team were very brave, and it was very difficult as the waters were baltic! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, we have raised an amazing amount of money, which will support community projects across Cumbria. We would like to thank Maryport Inshore Rescue and Simon Berry, High Sherriff of Cumbria and Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa owner who supported the team on the day.”
Donations can still be made online: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/windermeredip
If you have been inspired to support Cumbria Community Foundation, a fundraising guide is available to download from the CCF website to help you plan your own challenge: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/20th-anniversary/challenge/