Transforming West Cumbria, mid-term report 2023

November 2023 Mid-term report

PAGE 2 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 3 Contents PAGE 6-7 PAGES 8-15 PAGE 16-17 PAGES 20-22 PAGES 32-34 PAGE 18-19 PAGES 23-24 PAGES 25-28 PAGES 29-31 PAGE 5 PAGES 4 PAGE 3 Foreword Introduction UN Sustainable Developement Goals The West Cumbria Challenge How To Get Involved Foreword Launched in 2020, the Transforming West Cumbria social investment programme has focused on helping West Cumbria’s communities. Funded through the Sellafield Ltd social impact, multiplied (SiX) programme, Transforming West Cumbria has already made a positive difference to hundreds of organisations and thousands of people. Delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation, Transforming West Cumbria addresses West Cumbria’s most entrenched social issues and inequalities. Vitally, it has achieved significant impact by encouraging a partnership approach to delivery and demonstrated that impact can be multiplied through collaboration. Addressing community needs identified in the West Cumbria Opportunities and Challenges Report, the Transforming West Cumbria programme initially focused on: building the resilience and capability of third sector organisations, inspiring social enterprise, nurturing young entrepreneurs, making community activism the norm for young people, improving family wellbeing and improving financial education. Responding to additional needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic and cost of living crisis, the programme was further developed. These unprecedented events exacerbated existing hardship and created new challenges for many in our communities. With further investment we have provided comprehensive mental health and wellbeing support through the West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership, supported financial hardship advice services, and enabled third sector organisations to make better use of digital technologies. Importantly we have seen our supply chain partners support Transforming West Cumbria projects and community groups, through the provision of staff time, expertise and match funding. Further demonstrating that we can achieve more by working together. Achieving transformational change takes time, commitment and relies on effective collaboration. This report provides a summary of what we have achieved to date. by Gary McKeating, Head of Development and Community "Achieving transformational change takes time, commitment and relies on effective collaboration. This report provides a summary of what we have achieved to date." Gary McKeating

PAGE 4 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 5 Introduction Delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation and funded by Sellafield Ltd’s social impact, multiplied (SiX) programme, the Transforming West Cumbria programme aims to put local people in charge of their own futures by empowering them to create transformational change. Sellafield Ltd recognises that more can be achieved in partnership and that impact can be multiplied through collaboration. Transforming West Cumbria was developed with a range of partners to address issues identified in the ‘West Cumbria: Opportunities and Challenges’ report (2019), commissioned by Sellafield Ltd. It highlighted some of the persistent social problems facing communities in West Cumbria including: 3,900 children living in poverty; higher than average poverty rates; 1 in 7 households with an income of less than £10,000 a year and more children in care than in any other part of the county. Launched in 2020, the programme is based on three key pillars: 1. Build the capabilities and financial sustainability of critical community organisations delivering essential services in West Cumbria; 2. Inspire, encourage and nurture, both new and existing social entrepreneurs, by unlocking their entrepreneurial spirit; 3. Support children, young people and families to thrive, by building resilience, wellbeing, resourcefulness and a ‘can do’ attitude. Each of the underpinning programmes have been designed to: address identified needs; focus on gaps; be collaborative; support sustainable activities that create self-reliance and nurture future independence. Guided by the knowledge and expertise of nearly 40 people who are part of the project steering groups, the programme has responded and adapted to the unforeseen challenges arising from the global pandemic and national cost of living crisis. Many from the supply chain have supported the programme. This has ranged from individuals offering their time to mentor young people through the Positive Enterprise programme, companies providing free training courses to community groups, to the provision of additional match funding – over £540,000 has been committed to date. Collective impact means everyone can play their part and meet the social impact, multiplied objectives of: This report summarises what has been delivered so far, highlights the learning gained through evaluation and evidences the impact from those who have benefitted. It is testament to what can be achieved in partnership, when we work together to help our communities thrive. COLLECTIVE IMPACT THRIVING COMMUNITIES SUSTAINABLE INCOMES RESILIENT ECONOMIES SOCIAL VALUE CHAINS Transforming West Cumbria uses the power of local partnerships to tackle the area’s most entrenched social and economic problems Delivering the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals Developed in 2015 by the United Nations, the 17 interlinked global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a shared blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. Thinking globally, acting locally. By trusting local people to provide solutions to local problems, the Transforming West Cumbria programme is delivering specifically against eight of the SDGs. It is important to note that the remaining nine SDGs will also be impacted due to the intersecting nature of each Goal. Local charities and community organisations may be small in size, but in West Cumbria their collective work is playing a significant role in meeting these global goals and in delivering the SiX strategy objectives. The Transforming West Cumbria programme has inspired multiple partners, funders, organisations, companies and supporters to work together to achieve something bigger, a global vision that starts with local grassroots transformational change. Helping to deliver a sustainable future for our communities, through collective impact.

Objectives covered: Total Investment: £366,669 2 4 5 Objectives covered: Total Investment: £2,898,367 building resilience supporting enterprise Transforming West Cumbria Building organisational resilience and sustainability Decommissioning Authority are funding the initiative, which is being delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation. It puts local people in charge of their own futures by empowering neighbourhoods to create transformational change. The programme focuses on: *Includes £547,750 of match funding from donors and companies family wellbeing education mental health and wellbeing community activism inspiring young people Bedrock • Builds the resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability of third sector organisations delivering vital services in West Cumbria. • Co-designed and delivered in partnership with Cumbria CVS, Social Enterprise Acumen, Cumberland Council and Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership. • Bedrock comprises 3 programmes: – Bedrock Awards: Two-stage ‘award’ programme of tailored 1-2-1 support and development grants for established organisations. – Bedrock Basics: 1-2-1 advice and support programme. – Bedrock Digital: grant awards to develop digital know-how and service delivery. Inspires, encourages and nurtures both new and existing social enterprises. • • Co-created and delivered in partnership with Cumberland Council, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership and Cybermoor Services Ltd. • The Spark programme oˆers 3 Levels of support: – Level 1 – THINK IT: Support to aspiring entrepreneurs and community activists to help understand the concept of social enterprise and consider it as a new business model. – Level 2 – TRY IT: 1-2-1 tailored support and development grants for new and existing social enterprises to help trial and test new ideas or services. – Level 3 – GROW IT: 1-2-1 tailored support and development grants for existing social enterprises to help increase impact and build sustainable business models. £6.5m to fund West Cumbria’s most vulnerable communities* Delivered in partnership by Cumbria Community Foundation – 1 Resilient Economies Social Impact Multiplied Objectives: 2 Thriving Communities 3 Social Value Chains 4 Sustainable Incomes 5 Collective Impact Community Foundation’s West Cumbria Opportunities and Challenges report revealed: More children in care than in any other part of Cumbria Low rates of business and social enterprise start-ups 3,900children in the West Cumbria region live in poverty 10,000 £10,000 households with an income of less than Teenagers achieve fewer GCSEs than the national average 1 in 4 people over 16 have High levels of youth unemployment 20,000 More than people in debt Supporting entrepreneurial talent Spark • Empowers aspiring young entrepreneurs aged 14-25 to have their ideas and ambitions realised. • Annual competition delivered in partnership with Centre for Leadership Performance. • Positive Enterprise: – Breaks down barriers to engage and inspire young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds. – Provides a package of support including grant funding, coaching, mentoring, inspirational workshops and visits to local businesses. Unlocking entrepreneurial spirit Positive Enterprise Improving Financial wellbeing: Addressing financial hardship: capability Financial Wellbeing • Empowers people to address financial issues, break cycles of indebtedness and support families to thrive. Increasing mental health provision Mental Health & Wellbeing • Provides comprehensive mental health and wellbeing support to people with low level mental health issues in West Cumbria. • Co-designed and newly formed by the West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership. • The programme: – Builds a collaborative and sustainable third sector mental health provision for both adults and children. – Improves communication between statutory, third and health sector organisations. – Provides an improved service for people with multiple needs. – a positive catalyst for long-term change 1 2 4 5 1 2 4 5 2 5 2 4 5 Objectives covered: Total Investment: £89,000 • Improves the lives of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families in West Cumbria. • Seven third sector partnerships have been funded to provide services that: – Give parents and families the confidence to actively engage and support their child’s development. – Support children to build emotional resilience, particularly at critical transition points in their lives. – Deliver early years (0-5 years) interventions and intensive family centred support. Working in partnership with families to improve everyday lives Family Wellbeing 1 2 4 5 Inspiring youth community action #CanDo • Encourages young people aged 10-25 to make a positive community or local environment. • Projects, which are decided by young people, will raise aspirations and confidence by: – Empowering young people from disadvantaged communities to volunteer, lead change and take action in their communities. – Encouraging young people to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local community. £208,586 Objectives covered: Total Investment: £631,740 1 2 4 5 • Programme developed to address additional community needs arising from Covid-19 and Cost of Living Crisis. • Organisations funded to provide advice and guidance to help people address and reduce financial challenges. • Co-designed and delivered in partnership with Allerdale Citizens Advice and Copeland Citizens Advice. • Financial Wellbeing provides 1-2-1 financial health checks and advice to individuals/ families, financial planning resources and information. Objectives covered: Total Investment: £89,000 Objectives covered: Total Investment: £882,340 Objectives covered: Total Investment: £1,426,850

PAGE 8 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 9 Started November 2020 16 organisations are being supported: 13 have completed Stage 1 and been awarded a Stage 2 Bedrock Award 16 Stage 1 Bedrock Awards grants have been awarded totalling £357,339 14 Stage 2 Bedrock Awards grants have been awarded totalling £1,206,942 Total value of grants awarded to date £1,564,281 Outcomes: ∞ Increased organisational resilience and financial sustainability ∞ Empowered community leaders ∞ Increased organisational capacity ∞ Improved governance ∞ Greater partnership working leaders to participate fully in the business diagnostic/planning process; Stage 2: • Additional funding award (up to £85,000) to invest in the implementation of the organisation’s two-year development plan; • Ongoing business consultancy support; • Peer support through action learning. Bedrock Awards is delivered in partnership with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership (CSEP) and Social Enterprise Acumen CIC (SEA) who provide business consultancy. Bedrock Award applications are considered by the Bedrock/Spark Steering Group and approved by the Foundation’s West Cumbria Grants Committee. The organisations curently participating in the programme are: Age UK West Cumbria, Citizens Advice Allerdale, Citizens Advice Copeland, Copeland Age and Advice Service (CAAS), Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS), Cumbria Youth Alliance (CYA), Fit 4 Life Cumbria, Home to Work Limited, Hospice at Home West Cumbria, Howgill Family Centre, Phoenix Enterprise Centre (PEC), Time to Change West Cumbria, Together We CIC, West Cumbria Carers, West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support and Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project. Kate Welch, CEO of SEA said “It’s a real pleasure working with the Foundation and CSEP to help build the capacity and resilience of the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in West Cumbria. The organisations we are working with play vital roles in supporting some of the area’s most vulnerable people, and the Bedrock Awards will really help these organisations strengthen their offer.” Sessions delivered by SEA cover issues including strategic planning, social impact, volunteers, systems and management. “The idea is to empower them,” says Kate. Stage 1 Difference Made: A survey of the organisations who have completed Stage 1 shows how they have benefitted from the process: 100% of the organisations strongly agreed/ agreed the Stage 1 process helped identify their organisation’s needs and work on issues important to their future. All agreed it came at the right time for their organisation, encouraged better planning and strategic thinking and provided an opportunity to consider how to develop. • “It has given us a genuine opportunity that may make the difference between us surviving and closing, as grant funding gets harder to access.” • “It has been really good having a critical friend to listen and offer suggestions and advice.” • “It really helped bring the whole team on the transformational journey we are undertaking.” • “We have changed many elements of the organisation. Most importantly is the culture, so now we work as a team.” For many, the process enabled them to ‘think differently’: “On reflection, it gave us ownership of tools to enable us as an organisation and team to move forward…. the process made us think differently.” Bedrock Awards Unlike a traditional grant scheme, the Bedrock Awards have been designed to help critical third sector organisations in West Cumbria plan for sustainability, development and growth via a deep analysis of opportunities for improvement. The third sector includes charities, community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises, faith and equalities groups, mutuals and co-operatives. Successful grantees are offered a twostage programme of tailored support, intended to deliver long-term benefit to their organisation. It includes: Stage 1: • Business consultancy to help organisations undertake a full business diagnostic and facilitate the production of a two-year development plan; • Funding award (up to £25,000) to build organisational capacity, enabling senior Programme of one-to-one support and development grants for established organisations Building organisational resilience Bedrock, a key strand of the Transforming West Cumbria programme, focuses on building the resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability of third sector organisations in West Cumbria “It’s a real pleasure working with the Foundation and CSEP to help build the capacity and resilience of the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in West Cumbria.” Kate Welch

PAGE 10 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 11 CASE STUDY: Phoenix Enterprise Centre Phoenix Enterprise Centre (PEC) received a Stage 2 Bedrock Award grant and used it to appoint Business Development Manager, Nina Albertelli and Marketing Officer, Mia Huck-O’fee. PEC Executive Director, Joanne Crowe, says Bedrock Awards is proving transformational for the centre and its ability to help local people. PEC has five buildings in Cleator Moor housing local businesses. It also provides an advice and guidance service to people who are unemployed, on benefits or about to be made redundant. PEC also runs a food pantry which helps up to 200 families a year. A review of the organisation with Kate Welch of Social Enterprise Acumen allowed them to identify weaknesses and how to make change. “Before taking part in the Bedrock Award we were stagnant. One of the reasons for that was not being able to afford the staff resource,” said Joanne. Nina and Mia have driven growth. Joanne said: “Enquiries for space and accommodation have increased and Nina has been able to convert the majority of these enquiries into licence agreements, alongside other paid-for services such as cleaning, room hire and furniture hire. Occupancy levels are now 96 per cent. “The quality of the marketing and advertising literature currently being produced is far superior to previous marketing. Mia has widened our social media presence to numerous other platforms, has set up a fundraising page, and she is redesigning the website. A new tenants’ newsletter has been launched.” New income streams have been established including fundraising activities organised by Nina. Fundraising generated £5,864 of income in the first quarter of 2023 financial year, when previously there was none. Nina has also delivered a new project which supported the set up of three new business start-ups. Overall income increased by £12,648 in the first quarter of 2023, compared with the same period in the previous year, directly as a result of the Bedrock Award grant. The appointments also freed up some of Joanne’s time. “That has enabled me to concentrate on governance,” she said. “I have been able to update our constitution and activities with Companies House, and recruit and appoint two new directors to strengthen the board. I have also been able to start looking for new properties that we might be able to purchase so we can create new office accommodation or workspace to further regenerate Cleator Moor.” She added: “Our Bedrock Award has had such a significant impact that I will look back on it as one of the milestone projects that assisted PEC to help our community.” As a result of the work undertaken during Stage 1, all awardees agreed that they had a better understanding of the problems they faced, had a clear plan of action, knew what resources were required and felt optimistic about their future. The capacity building grant has proved invaluable with 85% of organisations stating they would not have been able to take part without it: • “The Stage 1 Bedrock Award grant enabled me to increase staffing levels so I could commit time to the programme. It provided a breathing space.” • “The biggest impact was in backfilling senior staff so that we could engage and do more strategic things.” Stage 2 Difference Made: So far 14 organisations have produced their two-year bespoke development plan and successfully secured a Stage 2 Bedrock Award. This additional funding is being used by organisations to invest in a range of areas from new staff roles, volunteer development, improved management information systems, new technologies to training accreditation and rebranding. Hospice at Home West Cumbria worked on improving income from its charity shops after the pandemic hit fundraising events, and on volunteer recruitment. They will use their Stage 2 grant to recruit staff and install systems to deliver an NHS home-care end-of-life service. This could generate an additional £360,000 per year. “The grant allows them to build capacity so they can pursue this opportunity which they had felt was too risky before,” said Kate from SEA. “They will increase staffing and therefore opportunities for career development and progression. After the initial investment they will earn enough to go forward.” Cumbria Youth Alliance supports youth groups across the county. “We looked at developing a training service for youth workers. If they offer accredited training, they can potentially earn income. That leads to developing other training, for example employability training for young people. The £85,000 Stage 2 grant provides the initial staffing costs and pays for accreditation,” says Kate. Awardees predict the following range of outcomes will be achieved: • Improved earned income and profitability with business services and contracts, • More diverse and secure income streams, • Improved financial sustainability, • Improved quality assurance, systems and processes. • Increased efficiencies and improved service delivery, • Improved evidence of impact and difference made, • Raised profile and awareness. Strengthening services: Joanne Crowe with new recruits Nina Albertelli and Mia Huck-O’fee Main challenges faced by participating organisations: ∞ Lack of strategy/long-term planning ∞ Reliance on short-term funding ∞ Increase demand on services ∞ Organisation restructure/changes ∞ Lack of succession planning ∞ Strengthening organisational governance ∞ Inadequate management systems

PAGE 12 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 13 Through the Bedrock Basics programme, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) is supporting community organisations across West Cumbria to build their resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability. Gordon Henry is the Bedrock Basics Development Officer with Cumbria CVS. He said: “We provide support to a range of charitable and community organisations throughout West Cumbria with things like sourcing funding, providing training, recruiting volunteers, business planning and digital skills. We provide both one to one and group development work.” Training includes how to make successful grant applications and develop a fundraising strategy. Bedrock Basics has helped more than 233 West Cumbrian community groups so far, covering every aspect of local life including organisations for health and wellbeing, mental health, carers, young people, families, communities, fitness and sports and disability issues. Gordon says the success of these grassroots organisations is essential in West Cumbria. • “It helped us look for funding, create a business plan and understand the importance of social impact.” • “Advice given has been used to change our constitution to allow us to get more volunteer support for our activities.” • “It has brought our activities into focus and has helped us to plan.” • “Really helpful advice on a funding bid which helped improve it.” • “First class support, the training offered was something our organisation could not have afforded. The funding support was exceptional and enabled us to secure funding.” • “It helped to strengthen a recent application for funding, which we were successful with. This funding was crucial for my organisation to keep operational during a very difficult post-covid period.” • “On a personal level, I found the advice to be invaluable.” • “Helped greatly with our volunteering project, giving us the tools to be able to support our volunteers.” • “Extremely useful, it has given us a better perspective on social impact and how to record useful information to support this.” Allerdale Disability Association based at Moorclose Community Centre in Workington was able to break a run of unsuccessful funding applications after help from Bedrock Basics, which has proved transformational, says Manager, Tracey Parker. The association has two staff, Tracey who is part-time, and a full-time welfare benefits officer, plus around 24 volunteers. It helps people with disabilities to access benefits and runs drop-in sessions providing social and learning opportunities. The association supports around 1,000 local people per year, and helps clients claim a total of £6.2m worth of benefits in any 12-month period. Tracey, who has worked for the association for 20 years, says bids for funding to pay her salary had been unsuccessful. “It was at the beginning of Covid and three or four applications failed and I got despondent,” she says. “Without the funding I would have done what I’ve done in the past and kept working but with no income.” She received coaching on latest application techniques, including on social impact, and attended online training through Bedrock Basics. “It was superb and I’m still getting benefits from it,” says Tracey. She was successful in reapplying for funding and went on to achieve two more successful bids including one from the Lottery, bringing a total of £135,000 for core running costs. With further help from Bedrock Basics, the association is working towards moving into a bigger space and reviewing its 15 year-old IT system. “It is helping us help more people,” says Tracey. “We are also looking into expanding our service. “Thanks to help from Bedrock Basics, we have the ability to develop. I actually feel exhilarated for the first time in a long time.” CASE STUDY: Allerdale Disability Association Bedrock Basics “In terms of financial resources, some groups are tiny. However, in terms of the difference they make to the people, groups and communities they support, they are huge and often, at the moment, an absolutely vital lifeline.” A survey of groups supported through Bedrock Basics demonstrated the difference it has made to them: • “The advice given to help apply for grants has recently led to a successful grant application.” • “It has helped to ensure that we know our legal responsibilities.” • “It helped us with our professional development and to secure a stable financial future for our small charity.” Started February 2021 Jobs funded: ∞ 1 full time development officer ∞ 3 part time (district manager, digital officer, volunteer manager) 233 organisations have benefitted from advice and support (target was 160) 58 groups helped with funding searches 41 groups helped to recruit trustees 74 groups helped to recruit volunteers Support included: funding applications advice; governance; digital skills; social impact measurement One to one advice and support for community groups Gordon Henry

PAGE 14 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 15 Bedrock Digital offers grants of around £5,000 to local charities and community groups prioritising the alleviation of poverty and disadvantage. The groups also receive free advice from digital expert Kevin Beynon on which digital systems might help them work better and on applying for a grant. The scheme was launched in September 2022. “Small charities don’t have time to research digital solutions,” says Kevin, who runs digital consultancy Charity Technology. “They can get that help and support from me.” In the first few weeks of Bedrock Digital, he received four applications for assistance. There are three key solutions which can transform the work of these charities, including customer relationship management systems. Kevin says: “This will help them manage their records about the people they engage with, which takes the weight of admin away, freeing up more time for other work. Dougie Pomfret is manager of Fit4Life, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Maryport which offers specialist exercise and gym coaching for over50s with, or at risk of, serious conditions such as coronary heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes. He has had an initial consultation with Kevin and hopes that Bedrock Digital might allow Fit4Life to modernise and help more local people. Since Covid, active users of Fit4Life, which also has centres in Whitehaven and Workington, are down from 700 to around 350. “We need to update our website as it is out of date and difficult to navigate,” says Dougie. “We rely on health professionals referring in to us and a lot of them click on the website to find out what we do. “The main thing we hope to get through Bedrock Digital is a software package to manage all our data including customer payments and attendance logs. “At the moment we have paper registers, paper sign-ins and we have filing cabinets full of these. “If we want to collate data, such as for funding bids, we have to manually go through and upload to spreadsheets which is very time consuming. “If we can get to a situation where we have a tablet at each centre and a staff member can just upload straight to that then all of us can see the data from each centre live." A digital system could also flag up clients who drop out so staff can follow up and offer support and encouragement if they would like to continue, so boosting retention. Although Bedrock Digital is only just getting underway at the time of writing this report, Dougie hopes Fit4Life might benefit from both the advice and a grant to support change. “It would take a lot of the burden off and enable us to focus on achieving our mission rather than spending a lot of time on admin. We could focus on what we’re about – helping the people.” CASE STUDY: Fit4Life Started July 2022 16 organisations have received advice and support 9 grant awards made, total value £45,411 “It reduces organisational risk such as losing important papers and allows other members of the organisation who might be on the road or out in the community to have access to information.” Another transformational digital change is in communications, says Kevin, including email newsletters. “Instead of going out shaking a tin they can send newsletters helping the community to understand the work they are doing.” Up-to-date computers and software are also crucial for a charity to work efficiently. “I speak with the charity, then I can advise them on suitable affordable digital solutions which will work in their situation,” says Kevin. “I can also help after the purchase with getting up to speed with the new system and embedding it in their ways of working.” Bedrock Digital Grants to develop digital know how and service delivery Fitness for all: working out at Fit4Life specialist gym for over 50s

PAGE 16 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 17 Veterans struggling with mental or physical disabilities will soon be able to get “paddle boarding on prescription” thanks to a grant from Spark. The ACE SUP School CIC is the brainchild of Colin Fox, from Egremont. ACE SUP School CIC applied through Cumbria Community Foundation and was awarded a Try It grant of £5,000. It was used toward buying a fleet of topof-the-range boards, portable flotation devices and the first year’s insurance. Colin said: “I suffer with mental health issues and paddle boarding helps, being on the water and the solitude: you’re so busy trying not to fall off, that there’s not much room for anything else in your head. “You lose yourself in the environment. I’m ex-forces and have friends who suffer from PTSD and other mental health and physical disabilities, and I wanted to do something to help those guys – but not just them, all veterans. “Paddle boarding in Cumbria is so expensive, because everyone is chasing the tourist pound.” He continued: “The people I think will benefit most are the very ones who are least likely to be able to afford it. If you’re struggling with depression or mental health issues, sometimes it can be hard to maintain work and so you can’t afford luxuries like paddle boarding. “I want to make it accessible for those guys through social prescribing.” The school will offer lessons and access to the club for paying members, with their funds then covering the cost of the free lessons. “The highest price is still considerably less than other providers are charging,” said Colin, “but that’s to fund the free lessons we will do.” The ACE SUP School CIC has an agreement with a GP surgery to accept social prescriptions and will also be working with Groundwork NE and Cumbria. Colin hopes to expand the scheme to accept referrals from other mental health providers. The school is licensed by the National Trust to paddleboard on Wastwater, Buttermere and Crummock Water. Spark empowers people who think creatively about addressing social problems, through an enterprise-based approach. It aims to support the development of a vibrant social enterprise sector in West Cumbria, where social entrepreneurs and community activists flourish and communities benefit. Co-created by Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, Cumberland Council and Cumbria Community Foundation, Spark was designed to inspire, encourage and nurture, both new and existing social entrepreneurs. Through the Spark programme Cybermoor Services Ltd’s advisors are supporting wouldbe social entrepreneurs to commence their business journey and helping existing social enterprises to grow and become more resilient. Development grants to test new products and services are also available. The Spark programme offers three levels of support: 'Think It' which is support for aspiring entrepreneurs and community activists to consider social enterprise as a business model; 'Try It' which is one to one tailored support and business grants for existing social enterprises to help trial new ideas; and 'Grow It' which is one to one tailored support and development grants for existing social enterprises to increase impact and become sustainable. CASE STUDY: ACE SUP School CIC Colin Fox Laura and Amanda Heaton-Sutton from Proud & Diverse Cumbria CIC with drag queen Nova. The social enterprise received a Try It grant to work with young LGBTQ+ people before and during Whitehaven’s first Pride event, held in September 2023 Encourage and nurture new and existing social enterprises The Spark scheme inspires and nurtures new and existing social enterprises Started May 2021 38 new start-up social enterprises supported 15 existing start-up social enterprises supported 6 Try It grant awards, total investment £24,810

PAGE 18 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 19 Unlocking entrepreneurial spirit Positive Enterprise is a six-month programme for young people who have a social business idea and want to make it a reality. Launched in 2022, youngsters aged 14 to 25 from West Cumbria are invited to pitch ideas for businesses. Seven winners were selected in the first year and received £1,000 to spend on equipment, materials, stock or services to launch their enterprise. The participants are matched with a mentor to help put their plan into action. They are also supported by the Centre for Leadership Performance through coaching, mentoring and workshops to develop their ideas and themselves as leaders. The seven young people who took part in Positive Enterprise in 2023 saw their achievements recognised at a celebratory event at Lakes College, Workington, to mark the end of the first year of the programme. Aiden Thompson, 15, from Whitehaven, collected an extra £1,000 after judges were impressed by his presentation. His business, insight into how to sell my idea. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do that.” Three of the participants could not attend the event in person but told their stories through pre-recorded presentations. Josh Coombe, 15, from Whitehaven, used his grant to buy printing equipment for JC Stitch and Style, which offer fully customisable clothing and mugs. Luke Eilbeck, 18, of Wigton, has set up Mad4Kit selling vintage secondhand football memorabilia while studying for his A-levels. Samantha McKenzie, of Nuclear Waste Services, thought it money well spent. She said: “One of the priorities for the LLWR as a funder is to help young people to develop their skills and knowledge and to be the best they can be. Every single one of them has done that.” West Cumbrian Entrepreneurs to sell the products and explore potential opportunities.” Rachel McCartney, 24, of Holmrook, set up McCartney Sustainable Solutions to recycle food waste into compost, fertiliser and biofuel, and she is in the process of raising £1.2m. She said: “In Cumbria, we are paying £100 a tonne to dispose of food waste in landfill. I thought there were better ways of dealing with it.” Lennon Glass, 15, from Cockermouth, trades as Artify making customised and bespoke wool rugs. He said: “I do schoolwork on weekdays and make rugs at the weekend. All the rugs are from UK-sourced wool and profits go to the Women's Institute.” Bethany Goodall, 24, of Workington, established the Lake District Academy of Theatre Arts to provide affordable musical theatre workshops. She said: “Having one-toone sessions with a mentor gave me a real The young people who took part in Positive Enterprise, at Lakes College to recognise the end of the programme's first year The Positive Enterprise scheme empowers aspiring young entrepreneurs in West Cumbria to have their ideas and ambitions realised The programme is funded by Sellafield Ltd through Transforming West Cumbria, Cumbrian property developer Brian Scowcroft, LLWR, Well Whitehaven, Morgan Sindall and Kaefer. Cumbria Coastal Crafts, produces framed pebble art and customised laser engraved products. He said: “I saw a gap in the market and it has been very successful. Positive Enterprise helped me take it from an idea to a business. The grant paid for equipment and the mentoring helped me find the best ways Started November 2022 7 young entrepreneurs supported over six months £8,000 awarded 7 mentors recruited

PAGE 20 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 21 A panel of young people aged 16 to 25 decides which projects receive #CanDo funding. Members, who come from across West Cumbria, are recruited annually, with some choosing to continue as peer supporters. They meet regularly to debate applications for grants of up to £5,000. In total there is £150,000 funding for #CanDo available over three years: £75,000 was donated by Sellafield Ltd and the rest by match-funders Thomas Graham & Sons Ltd, Shepley Engineers Ltd, United Utilities and individual donors. Nearly 30 different organisations that encourage young people to create social change by volunteering and taking part in social action have received funding. The youth panel meetings are facilitated by Soo Redshaw, leadership coach, and their grant decisions go to CCF’s West Cumbria Grants Committee to be ratified. Soo says the #CanDo panel means the scheme is genuinely youth-led. “My role is to chair and sometimes ask questions and prompt. You think, ‘they’re young, they’re going to need support’. They did not. They didn’t always agree and sometimes they had to compromise. But they Started September 2020 27 grants awarded total investment £123,840 2,458 young people have benefitted from the projects £75,000 match funding secured 22 young people have served on the #CanDo Youth panel were thoughtful, practical and conscientious about how they awarded the money and what they approved. They would always ask ‘Will it make a difference?’ and ‘Is it useful?’ For example, one project wanted £1,000 for a laptop. They said, ‘No, we can get four laptops for that’. They were acutely aware of the cost of items.” She added: “Young people can see they’re being taken seriously and they can make a difference.” Gabby Atkinson, 20, lives near Wigton and has been a member of the #CanDo panel for two years. Inspiring youth community action #CanDo enables young people aged 10 to 25 to make a positive difference to their community or local environment, empowering them to lead change None of the panel members knew each other before joining the group but working together forges respect and friendship, says Gabby. “I am much more confident since doing this and I have learned every opinion matters. I think older people have a different perspective. These are decisions impacting our peers. We can bring an awareness of what’s going on with younger people.” The youth panel is supported by CCF’s Learning & Evaluation Officer to evaluate projects funded in the first two years of #CanDo. She says: “Young people aren’t often the organisers or decision makers and so it is really encouraging to have this opportunity. “We discuss each application, and everyone says why they think it’s good or why they have questions. We make sure everyone has a chance to say something. “We have had some really good debates because we have so many different perspectives. It would be easy to give everyone £5,000 but then we might not have enough for next time, so we have to be picky. “We all take it very seriously. It is for our community. The decisions we are making are helping the people we have grown up with, who we live with and help us. “Some of the schemes are for people who have really difficult lives and so we want to help them and help in the best way we can.” Gabby says mental health is a recurring issue, as is isolation in rural communities. “That comes up a lot and is something we take very seriously, because I don’t think anyone hasn’t been affected by Covid and life,” she says. Decision makers: Members of the #CanDo Youth Panel who decide which projects receive funding West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Youth Panel, funded by #CanDo, on the River Keekle near Whitehaven identifying river invertebrates

PAGE 22 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 23 Phoenix Youth Project (PYP) has received three #CanDo grants which its members used to help the local community. PYP is based in Cleator Moor and runs youth clubs in the town as well as in Frizington, seeing 400 young people aged 8 to 19 each year. As well as providing a warm, safe and friendly place, PYP runs workshops on topics ranging from mental health to better communications, drugs and alcohol issues. PYP members also carry out social action projects. PYP’s recent project supported youngsters in Cleator Moor whose families are affected by the cost of living crisis. “We start by asking ‘who is in need in your community and how can we help them?’” says Paul Rowe, PYP Project Manager. “They said families need our help this year, and asked ‘if families have less money, what do kids need?’ A lot of food is already being donated through food banks, so they thought, kids need toys.” The young people used £400 from #CanDo to buy toys and a community support group matched the money. “They bought scooters and bikes, and back-to-school stuff like lunch bags, stationery and drink bottles,” said Paul. “We did hot dogs and drinks and about 100 members of the community came. “The young people helped with the food and making up the bikes and scooters, and they talked to the youngsters and handed the toys out. “The families couldn’t believe we were giving out free toys because, let’s face it, that doesn’t happen. It brought the community together.” The Frizington-based youth club members wanted to help people feeling isolated after the pandemic and staged a coffee morning at Lingla Café. “They called it a Fun Afternoon, and it was afternoon tea with a bit of free food and games,” said Paul. Twenty young people from Phoenix Youth Project helped and 60 people of all ages attended. “They really were proud of how it went. They got the shopping and made the cakes and dropped off leaflets to promote the afternoon. They set up a reception desk and organised raffle and tombola prizes which were donated by Cleator Moor Covid Support Group. “One elderly lady who attended said she hadn’t left her house apart from shopping since the start of Covid.” CASE STUDY: Phoenix Youth Project Frizington Phoenix Youth Project member shopping for banners for their community event The Frizington team who organised and ran afternoon tea with food and games for their community Financial Wellbeing is designed to improve the financial capability of West Cumbrians on low incomes. Delivered by Citizens Advice Copeland and Citizens Advice Allerdale, it aims to empower people to break cycles of debt. Two part-time Financial Wellbeing Officers provide one-to-one financial health checks, develop online tools to help people manage their money and promote financial wellbeing through community networks. Focusing on equipping people with the skills to manage their finances, the project does more than just solve immediate hardship issues. “What is different about the Financial Wellbeing project is that it is preventative. We provide empowerment and information to help people help themselves and stop getting to crisis point,” said a Citizens Advice team member. “Importantly the project helps to break down barriers to discuss personal financial issues.” Since Financial Wellbeing was launched in 2020 the pandemic and cost of living crisis have exacerbated financial hardship. Shelley Hewitson, CEO of Citizens Advice Copeland, said: “For those just about Started August 2020 Jobs funded: 2 part time financial wellbeing officers 394 people received direct advice More than 1,100 people benefitted as a result of this advice Clients helped with more than 1,487 issues including debt, utilities, food, fuel, income maximisation More than £239,260 secured in income gains, mostly as a result of people receiving benefits advice £1,680,614 of debt has been recorded Improving financial capability for individuals and families With financial hardship on the rise this scheme empowers people to take control, avoid crisis and break cycles of indebtedness as well as supporting families to thrive managing we have been offering financial support such as food and fuel vouchers. The complexity of cases we are dealing with continues to increase. This project acts as an introduction to our more specialist services.” An independent evaluation of Financial Wellbeing, undertaken by TCG Advisory, credits Citizens Advice’s ability to flex and adapt delivery to help people experiencing Financial Wellbeing See our video online

PAGE 24 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 25 “The pressure on our services continues, with more people presenting at crisis point. We can now better manage client demand, training and funding bids.” Shelley Hewitson increased financial pressures. A range of stakeholders were interviewed, and 46 beneficiaries responded to a digital survey. Feedback suggests many people sought help with more than one issue. Debt advice (25%) is the common issue, followed by food or fuel vouchers (21%) and benefits advice (15%). As a result of receiving help, 46% of people who responded said they felt more in control of their finances and 41% said their mental or physical health had improved. 91% said they were ‘extremely likely to recommend the project’. The evaluation said Financial Wellbeing should be continued, given worsening socio-economic challenges. Responding to the increased needs of communities following the pandemic and cost of living crisis, further investment was made by Sellafield Ltd. Citizens Advice Allerdale and Citizens Advice Copeland rely on funding to provide free advice. Core funding of £90,000 over three years was awarded to each charity. Shelley Hewitson said: “The pressure on our services continues, with more people presenting at crisis point. We can now better manage client demand, training and funding bids.” Addressing Financial Hardship Family Wellbeing The Money Mentors project offers free, tailored support. Delivered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria it informs on financial choices and services and imparts skills to help people take control of their finances. Eighteen mentors will be trained. Kay Dempsey, Partnership Lead at Groundwork, said it will help reduce pressure on the Citizens Advice service: “In some cases, the appointment at Citizens Advice will not be required and in the majority of cases would not take up as much time.” Whitehaven Egremont and District Credit Union received £62,908 to run a three-year financial education programme in every West Cumbrian secondary school for Year 10 pupils. Workshops look at income, expenditure, budgeting, bills, credit cards and loans. Sue* had a history of mental ill health and her husband was unable to work due to arthritis. Their energy bills and mortgage payments had increased significantly. The Financial Wellbeing Officer reviewed their budget and identified savings per month. They were also eligible for a fuel voucher. The couple feel they are in a much better place to manage their finances. CASE STUDY *name has been changed Working with families to improve everyday lives Family Wellbeing improves the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and families and helps families to support youngsters’ development and emotional resilience Seven charitable organisations have been funded to work in partnership and provide services which help families. They are: Always Another Way; Barnardo's; Cumbria Addictions, Advice & Solutions (CADAS); Howgill Family Centre; Safety Net (UK); Time to Change West Cumbria; and Together We CIC. The partnership delivers early years interventions and intensive, family-centred support, giving parents and families the confidence to support their child’s development and help children build emotional resilience. The Family Wellbeing programme is steered by an advisory board which includes representatives from Children's Services, Cumbria Youth Alliance, University of Central Lancashire and University of Cumbria. The board is chaired by Willie Slavin, Chair of West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum and a trustee of the Howgill Family Centre in Cleator Moor. Sellafield Ltd has committed, through Transforming West Cumbria, about £1m to the programme over five years. Willie says poverty and child poverty are Started September 2020 £600,000 awarded to 7 projects over 3 years Outputs delivered to date: ∞ 1,456 families supported ∞ 2,709 children supported ∞ 498 adults supported in year 3 Outcomes achieved to date: ∞ 17 fewer children going into or returning to care ∞ 25 fewer children on Child Protection Plans ∞ 36 children achieved good level of development by end of reception significant in areas of West Cumbria and have been persistent over many years. “For example, Sandwith ward in Copeland has consistently had some of the highest levels of poverty in West Cumbria and ties with a ward Started July 2021 4 grants awarded, total investment £274,133