#CanDo aims to support the ambition of developing a lifetime commitment to social action and increase the number of opportunities for young people (aged between 10 and 20, and up to 25 for disabled young people) in West Cumbria to volunteer, fundraise, or campaign on issues that are important to them, with a commitment to reducing the social and financial barriers that stop some young people from taking part in social action.

Funded by Sellafield Ltd, with match funding from Thomas Graham & Sons, Shepley Group Ltd and local donors, #CanDo is part of Transforming West Cumbria, a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

#CanDo encourages community organisations to apply for funding of up to £5,000 for community projects, led by young people. The applications are considered by a youth committee, ensuring that decisions are taken by the very people who will benefit for generations to come.

Some of the #CanDo Youth Committee 2022-23 members

The committee meets regularly to examine and debate applications, and has a say in which projects they feel will make a difference in their communities and should be supported.

Nearly 30 different organisations that work with young people have received funding to carry out projects in their communities, so far.

Sophie Crozier, 24 and from Cockermouth, joined the third panel. She explained: “Being a part of the #CanDo Youth Advisory Committee has been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the inspiring projects and people in the local communities of West Cumbria.

“I’ve met some remarkable people from doing this, and it’s allowed me to develop skills and knowledge in evaluation. This has been a fantastic initiative to get involved in, in terms of feeling as though you have a say in what’s happening in your community, but also to feel more in tune with what’s happening at a local level. I would recommend this experience to anyone who is considering applying.

Fellow panellist Aimee O’Driscoll, 19, who lives in Whitehaven, added: “It is an amazing opportunity that has been very rewarding for me. I enjoyed learning about all of the beneficial projects that are in the local area that I perhaps wouldn’t have come across otherwise.”

Over the past three years, the youth committee has awarded more than £120,000 in funding to 27 youth-led projects in West Cumbria, including a grant to Whitehaven Sea Cadets to run a nationwide campaign to save the bees. The cadets packed and posted ‘bee bombs’ – native wildflower seedballs – to every unit in the UK, inspiring planting that could result in more than 15,000 square feet of bee-friendly habitats.

Applications are reviewed by a youth advisory committee made up of young people aged 16-25 with a diverse range of lived experience of social issues affecting young people across the region.

We’re currently recruiting young people to join the fourth committee. For more information, click here.

For more information about the #CanDo Fund, click here or call the grants team on 01900 825760 or email grants@cumbriafoundation.org