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Cumbria Community Foundation Distributes Nearly £400,000 to Support Local Initiatives

Cumbria charity initiatives 2024
© Ian Cylkowski

In a bid to tackle regional disparities and foster community development, Cumbria Community Foundation has allocated close to £400,000 to various organisations across the county as part of the government’s ‘levelling up’ initiative.

The funding, aimed at addressing geographical inequalities, encompasses support for start-up businesses and initiatives geared towards enhancing employability by offering upskilling opportunities and volunteering prospects.

Acting as the conduit for applications to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council, Cumbria Community Foundation collaborated with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership to streamline the allocation process.

In total, £389,994 has been earmarked for projects spanning Cumberland, with diverse beneficiaries poised to make significant community impacts.

Among the recipients, Growing Well stands out, securing £23,036 to facilitate the establishment of a minibus service at its new site in Egremont. The organisation specialises in providing targeted mental health interventions to adults through engaging outdoor activities at its market gardens across Cumbria.

Catherine Bentley, Growing Well’s Partnerships Manager for North Cumbria, emphasised the significance of the funding, stating, “The money we received has enabled us to buy a minibus for our new site in Egremont and help fund driver recruitment and training, also creating jobs in the local community.”

She added, “Growing Well offers free transport to site for all its volunteers and by doing so removes barriers to accessing free mental health support for people who live in isolated communities or don’t have their own transport but who badly need our help.”

The Rebuild Site CIC, focusing on repurposing surplus construction materials for community projects, received £39,940 to facilitate its expansion into West Cumbria.

Director Maisie Hunt expressed delight at the funding, stating, “The grant will allow us to set up a second site with a community focus, bringing low cost materials and sustainable, practical and DIY skills sharing to the area, and reduce useful materials going to waste.”

Meanwhile, the Centre for Leadership Performance was awarded £19,500 to conduct workshops tailored for businesses and individuals transitioning into retirement. The Sense of Purpose programme, funded through this grant, seeks to enhance the wellbeing of retirees, foster community engagement through volunteering, and facilitate a smoother transition into retirement or other forms of employment.

Catherine Eve, Executive Director of Centre for Leadership Performance, highlighted the impact of the funding, stating, “Thanks to the funding, we have been able to scale up our Sense of Purpose programme.” This means we can reach more retirees, helping them to plan for a fulfilling retirement and connect them to more local services, volunteering and employment opportunities.”

She added, “Retirees have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience; Sense of Purpose enables them to continue to add value to their local community.”

The infusion of funds into these diverse initiatives underscores the commitment to fostering inclusive growth and community resilience in Cumbria.