Cumbrian initiatives receive £400,000 in funding for ‘levelling up’ efforts

Cumbria Community Foundation Awarded Nearly £400,000 in Government Funding to Support Local Organisations

Cumbria, UK – The Cumbria Community Foundation has recently announced that it has awarded a total of £389,994 to various organisations in the county as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ programme. This programme aims to address geographical inequalities across the UK and support the growth and development of communities.

The funding was distributed to provide start-up business support advice and to help move those furthest from the labour market closer to employment by upskilling and providing volunteering opportunities. The Cumbria Community Foundation managed the applications to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council, working together with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership.

“We are proud to have managed the distribution of this funding on behalf of Cumberland Council and to work alongside the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership to support the growth and development of our local communities,” said Annalee Holiday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at the Foundation. “We know how innovative our communities, charitable organisations, and social enterprises are in identifying and initiating activities for the benefit of residents. To be able to access revenue and capital costs through this allocation of funding can make a world of difference for such initiatives. This will have a real impact – from individual businesses to entire communities.”

In total, £389,994 was awarded to projects across Cumberland, with a focus on providing support in various areas. Some of the projects that received funding include Growing Well, which received £23,036 towards the cost of a minibus service at their new site in Egremont. This organisation offers free targeted and specialist mental health intervention to adults who are experiencing mental ill health by involving them in outdoor activities at their three market gardens in Cumbria.

“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,” said Catherine Bentley, Growing Well’s Partnerships Manager for North Cumbria. “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.”

Other projects to receive funding include The Rebuild Site CIC, which was awarded £39,940 towards the expansion of its operations into West Cumbria. The social enterprise was formed in Carlisle with the aim of taking surplus materials from construction sites and giving them to charities and community groups for building, gardening, crafting, and repair projects.

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding through the UKSPF and REPF to support the expansion of The Rebuild Site CIC into Workington,” said Director Maisie Hunt. “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 reducing useful materials going to waste.”

The Centre for Leadership Performance also received £19,500 to run a series of workshops for businesses and soon-to-be retirees to ensure a successful transition to retirement, other employment, or volunteering opportunities. The Sense of Purpose programme aims to increase the life satisfaction and wellbeing of those retiring; enable them to remain economically active for longer; improve their sense of belonging and community through volunteering; and reduce their reliance on health and social care services.

“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,” said Catherine Eve, Executive Director of the Centre for Leadership Performance. “Retirees have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience; Sense of Purpose enables them to continue to add value to their local community.”

In total, more than £1.3 million has been awarded in Cumberland from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund. Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “Dozens of businesses and organisations have benefited from the funding, and more than £1.3 million has been granted so far. We would like to thank partners for their support and look forward to seeing these funded schemes develop in the future.”

Interested parties can apply for the next round of UKSPF and REPF grant funding, which will be open for application in the upcoming weeks. For more information about grant funding available through Cumbria Community Foundation, visit, call the grants team on 01900 820827, or email

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