News & Events 2021/2022
16th July Maryport and Solway Sea Cadets
As we stepped across the threshold of the Sea Cadets building we were invited by Mark, the Chair to take a tour of the “ship” or correctly the TS Caesar. 28 Cadets attend training here and we were shown the haul of trophies and awards they have won over the years at national level. We heard from Mark about plans to upgrade the building and maintain the long tradition of an excellent and successful Sea Cadet Unit. Each Cadet Unit is run as an independent charity under the umbrella Sea Cadets organisation. Any 10 – 18 year old can join and they pay a small weekly fee. Once a cadet has progressed from junior to senior status they can choose to learn about an array of skills, for example engineering or navigation. Sea Cadets aren’t purely about recruiting for the Royal Navy, of course some Cadets do join up, but like any well run youth organisation it’s about aquiring life skills and developing into competent adults in a safe and challenging environment.
We went to the marina to observe a water confidence session. Some of the cadets were new starters and the session, led by qualified volunteers, emphasised using the safety equipment, looking after each other, trying canoes and paddleboards and having fun. It was good to see some of the instructors were former cadets who were putting their experience and qualifications to good use. What a great opportunity this gives young people to develop resilience, self- belief and social confidence and what an excellent base to have by the sea. Thank you to all the volunteers for keeping this unit going.
15th July Crosby Ravensworth Parish Tree Group
Following concerns that a number of trees had been lost through clearance and others to disease — notably ash die-back – and that older trees with a limited life would need replacement, the Crosby Ravensworth Parish Tree Group was created. The volunteers work with the local farmers to see what and where they can help out to plant trees, enhance the environment and make sure there are trees for future generations. This may be filling in a hedgeline, establishing shade trees or creating small stands of native trees. 4000 trees and 8000 hedge whips planted to date. They want to plant a small wood next. It just shows what a group of committed people can achieve. We enjoyed an excellent walk with David and Drew in fabulous weather to see some of their work. What a resourceful community and beautiful landscape.
Oaklea Trust and Right 2 Work, Appleby
Honestly we weren’t lured here by the promise of tea and scones – but we really enjoyed them and of course importantly the opportunity to hear about this great project and see the building. The inviting entrance has a wonderful, creative floral display and the main hall and wholefood cafe is equally wonderfully decorated. The Oaklea Trust was invited to take on the building after it was sitting empty. They have turned into a real community Hub with cafe, meeting rooms and work spaces for hire, Appleby Rotary second hand bookshop, and craft items for sale. Several different groups and classes meet at the Hub as well as a youth club. Right2Work is based around 3 key elements Community, Learning and Wellbeing. They have a range of activities and opportunities to help people gain skills and qualifications and to find work. What a super resource for the people of Appleby and surrounds and much needed help with gaining work in a largely rural area. Thank you to Sue and Sarah and other members of staff. We really didn’t get to hear all that is going on at the Hub. It is a super place and with a creative approach and care for all of their customers.
Appleby Emergency Response Group
AERG was formed after the flooding in 2015 and 2016 and is now a registered charity.Their purpose is to assist the community to prepare, respond and recover from an emergency. Like most of us they thought their main focus would be around flooding and the aftermath, but they have been very busy responding to the communities needs around the C-19 pandemic. They have one part time employee who coordinates the strategy and planning and ensures the volunteers are rehearsed and ready. As well as communicating to the residents of Appleby about what to do if action is needed. They work closely with the blue light services to create the most effective response in an emergency situation. It’s so difficult to imagine the chaos and grief a flood can bring when you visit on a beautiful summer evening with low water levels in the river. Hoping you don’t have to put your expertise into practice but you are well prepared. Thank you to the committee and volunteers for all the work you do so willingly.
14th July Cumbria Family Support, Penrith
We put an arm around people – that’s the driving ambition of this charity. So often people can only access help when there is a crisis. This charity aims to get support to families as early as possible. This small staff team with the help of trained volunteers have quite a reach. They offer support across Eden and Allerdale and Carlisle. They recognise the importance of multi agency working and have strong links across the area to ensure the families get the right support. The charity was established in 1993 by volunteers to befriend people in need. They are now able to deal with greater complexity and have employed professional staff to enhance their offer. Children are at the heart of what they do. They help families by providing practical and emotional support to reduce isolation and health inequalities and overcome issues or challenges they may be facing. It may be as simple as walking children to school because parents have some disability or it may be helping to understanding the outcomes of a professional meeting. By helping with many everyday tasks that most of us take in our stride they enable people to gain confidence and independence and the support is available for as long as is needed, sometimes years. Thank you for sharing about the invaluable befriending work you do.
Triple A Project ( All about Autism)
Greeted warmly by 3 volunteers and peer mentors, Harry, Kane and Kathryn, we had a very informative presentation from Karen, Chair about Triple A now and future plans. Only established in 2016 their offer is peer led by people with autism. They offer a progression route starting with a Navigator Programme, Positive Pals, and Discovery Panels which focus making new friednships and navigating lifes challenges.
They want to tackle employment for people with autism. There are an estimated 5,353 individuals with autism in Cumbria, 88% unemployment and individuals who want to work. There is so much misunderstanding about autism and very often employers lack knowledge to be able to engage people with autism in the workplace. The largest misconception is everyone with autism demonstrates the same behaviour. This is really untrue. Each person is an individual and so is their behaviour and ability, just like anybody. They are also the only organisation offering Duke of Edinburgh to people with autism. Thank you Mark for telling us about work you are doing with DofE.
Our visit finished all too quickly with a frank and lively chat with the peer mentors. What a super charity. We look forward to hearing about your next steps.
Penrith Cricket, Sports and Social Club
A perfect evening for net practice. What a good setting Penrith Cricket Club has. Mark and Jan, two volunteer coaches told us about the 5 junior teams and their training schedule. Tim, President and Tim, Committee member were also on hand for more information about the club which is has been at Tynefield Park since 1907. All clubs have to move with the times and they have refurbished the score board, screen and artificial wicket for Junior practice and now looking to replace the fixed practice nets. They have a good working relationship with Ullswater School, who share the nets and help with the grounds. The school also has an adjoining field so the club can have a senior and junior match at the same time. It was good to see a mixed group practising and they and the ECB are emphasing getting more women into cricket. So much voluntary effort and commitment goes into keeping the club running and provide the opportunity for young people to get involved in cricket. All the best for the next 100+ years.
Cumbrian Federation of Young Farmers Clubs
Thank you for a great presentation about Cumbria Young Farmers and the challenges of last year for members without being able to hold the usual field days and face to face events. Cumbria is divided into Northern (Longtown to Drigg) and Southern (Broughton to Eden Valley) Districts with 25 clubs overall. We heard from representatives of both Districts and the Club President and the CEO. YFC is open to any young person from farming on non-farming backgrounds 10 – 28 years old and runs age appropriate activities. As a former Young Farmer myself, not only was it a bit of a nostalgic evening, but a great reminder of the friendships, skills and opportunites that belonging to a YF club brings. YF raise money for charity and in 2019/21 they raised £50,000. They have events at local and national level and have been the best county 7 out of the last 9 years nationally.
Cumbria usually has about 1600 members, this had tailed off a bit during Covid but the various committees are full of ideas and enthusiasm to get the numbers back up again. It is a fabulous way for young people to connect with others as well as give to their communities. They are particular aware of the rurality of Cumbria and the potential for isolation so they have organised training and education events around these issues.
It was really good to hear and see the energy and ideas to get the all the clubs back to face to face meetings. Thank you for continuing to contribute to the well being of Cumbria.
Thank you to Penrith Cricket Club for providing the meeting room.
10th July Cumbria Round Table AGM, Workington
A lively AGM meeting of the Cumbria Round Table was held at the Tractor Shed Brewery. The quality beer no doubt added to the convivial atmosphere and debate! It was encouraging to hear of the good work being done by groups across the county. Round Tables are a club for men aged 18-45 with a desire to make new friends and serve their community. Members from Cockermouth, Maryport, Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside & District Round Tables were all there having a fun evening as they reviewed the year and planned future events.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet you all and hear about the beneficial things Round Tables get up to.
9th July Together We Workington
Together We’s mission is about ‘Empowering people to take control over their physical health, mental health and wellbeing’ They are able to offer people in Allerdale and Copeland a range of services including talking techniques and physical health interventions to help them on their own recovery journey. There has been a substantial increase in numbers of service users and the Together Staff and volunteers are working hard to support everyone who contacts them. Janine and Sam, the two MDs, are in the process of broadening the offer and want to make sure everyone who needs their service can access it. We heard from staff, volunteers, trainees and service users and we even got a taster session of a fitness class. One former service user spoke highly of them and the positive difference it has made to his life – ” You’ll never be lonely with Together “. Every client is treated as unique and they can access as much of the range of services as they need . They have also established a recovery college providing peer support.
Thank you for such an informative visit and every success as you continue to grow this valuable service.
Age UK WC
We started our visit outdoors so we could see the newly acquired mobile unit. This is being used to promote the activities and services of Age UK West Cumbria and the Back from Beyond Veterans Project. Chatting to the group of veteran about how its great to be able to meet together again. Mark, one of the two new veterans’ connectors told us more about the project to help isolated and vulnerable older veterans and also their carers and family. Help ranges from advice and one to one support, to connecting people into activity and friendship groups, like walking football and breakfast groups. We head from them. A whistle stop tour of the building – the donated goods, the enthusiastic stores manager who is so excited about all things Vint-age for the charities shops, the display space for daily living aids in the Bradbury Independent Living Centre, the drop in club room, and the brightly decorated upstairs meeting room and offices. Chatting to Jane, CEO over lunch we heard about the numerous activities and support they provide on a range of issues, including; benefits, heating and bills, daily living aids, social isolation and housing. Wow so much going on and the whole team of staff and volunteers are encouraged to contribute ideas for future developments. They defnitely have a collective can-do attitude and lots of energy.
Thank you for the work you are doing to help support our senior citizens.
The Freedom Project, West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support
In West Cumbria rates of domestic abuse are 5% above the national average and referrals to this service are increasing. They offer free long term community based support by providing advice, information, guidance , one -to- one and peer group mentoring. The support is designed to bring about lasting positive changes in people’s lives enabling a future free of the trauma of abuse. They work with the survivors, family members, children and perpetrators, trying to break the cycle and patterns of behaviour.
The, compassion and commitment to make a difference was palpable. We heard from a variety of people including staff, people currently in receipt of support and volunteers (many have been clients previously and they dearly want to help others). Considering the suffering that the women we met have either personally experienced or heard from those that have, the women present demonstrated genuine warmth, confidence and hope.
Thanks to Susan for the marvellous cakes and cuppa. Thank you to all of you for sharing your stories and providing such valuable support.
Workington Transport Heritage Trust
We were driven in this lovely old bus circa 1960 to the depot where there are more coaches and buses. Some of these are used for hire ie weddings or rail replacement services which brings income into the Trust to help with the upkeep. Since its formation in 1997, the Trust and its members have developed their collection of locally important buses, fire appliances and other vehicles. Currently housed at two sites, the vehicles are used at a variety of community events and shows. One bus is fitted out as an educational and display space. This band of enthusiasts are helping to preserve some fine examples of buses that were either built by Leyland in Workington or operated by Cumberland Motor Services and Stagecoach.
Thank you for a trip down memory lane – we even got to sit on the back seat!
Distington Club for Young People
Since 1947 there has been a youth club here at Distington. It started as a club for boys and is now a lively and active club for all young people. This evening Christine, the Youth Development Officer and her team of adult and junior volunteers had set the group the task of coming up with a list of activities to do doing during the summer holidays. They certainly weren’t short of ideas. The club has good outdoor space including a hard surfaced area for games including football, basketball and skate ramps. They run a variety of activities on every weekday night and open during the daytime in the school holidays. They would like to further develop the garden and grass areas. What a great resource for the young people of Distington. Thank you for our visit.
8th July Millom and Haverigg
Millom Network Centre
Around the Combe Community Group
The Beggar's Theatre
We were taken aback by the interior of the theatre. It is so much bigger than than we were expecting. The unstoppable Jakki has transformed this old night club into a wonderful theatre space and vibrant community asset over the last few years. It hosts some amazing performers and events. Local actor Peter MacQueen was setting up for a performance this evening. Meanwhile the Little Beggars group were very active exploring the use of masks in drama and all clearly enjoying taking part in the session. What a joy to visit Moore Arts at the Beggars Theatre. The name derives form having to make the place work with a limited income and the goodwill of offers of help and resources. We wish Jakki and the volunteers continuing success for the great work they are doing to help young people gain skills and confidence and with getting even more great names from the world of comedy and quality theatre to this area.
Millom Junior Football Club
Our final visit of the day was to visit Millom Cricket Club. A junior game was underway when we arrived. For this age group it is so important that they enjoy active participation in a match and junior rules enable this to happen. The new nets facility (well they are actually a year old but didn’t get any use last season) was being well used under the guidance of the professional Sri Lankan Coach. What a difference the nets have made to training and raising skill levels. Even on a cool weekday evening there were quite a number of spectators and the club house was doing steady trade.
There is a great variety of sport on offer for the young people of the area. Well done to all of the volunteers for making so much sport available.
7th July Every Life Matters , Shap
who wants to learn more about the myths and facts surrounding suicide, understand when someone might be at risk, how to talk directly and
comfortably about suicide, and what we can all do to offer practical support. They have also produced some excellent resources to help with the issues around suicide and bereavement.
The Farmer Network Ltd and Thrimby Hall Farm visit
The Farmer Network is a not for profit organisation solely developed to help, support and guide farmers by providing services and benefits thoughout Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. Adam, MD and Kate, a Project Manager organised this visit to Matthew and Dani Blairs’ farm so we could hear first hand about farming life and the some of the current challenges in the uncertain climate. We also met some past students of the Farming Ambition – Business Support for Young People training course. Murray a shepherd, Holly a young farmer and farm advisor and Rachel who does a variety of farm work alongside being a physiotherapist talked about the value of getting more understanding about the business side of farming which is so important for their futures in farming. An excellent day to have a walk and talk on the farm. Thank you very much for this opportunity and the very best to you all.
5th July Herdwick School, Racy Ghyll Farm, Penruddock
What a joy to join Kingfisher class from Langwathby C of E Primary School on an annual visit to the Herwick School at the Rebanks Racy Farm. They started the day with a tour of the farm to see what is new since their last visit – the altered stream course, the ponds and the bee hives being of especial interest. Their visits are planned to experience the seasonal changes in the environment and on the farm. They all set off and reached the top of Gt Mell Fell – a real achievement for these young pupils as many had never walked up a fell before. Lunch in the barn followed by a lively exchange about the role of High Sheriff. Well done everyone for a very successful day of learning outdoors. Thank you to Helen Rebanks for their guided tour of the farm and to the teachers and adult volunteers who help make such invaluable visits possible.
A zoom meeting this evening with members of the WI to talk about the office of the High Sheriff, the history and to describe the day to day role and introduce some of the many charities we have visited. Cumbria is associated by many people with holidays, fells, lakes and rain but sadly the reality for many Cumbrians is much harsher. I feel very privileged to be able to share the stories about the fantastic work so many people do in our county because they care. Thank you for this opportunity.
3rd July Cockermouth Live 2021
What a delight to be asked to open this family friendly festival of music, inspiration and fun in my home town of Cockermouth. Like many events organisers this year has been full of stop go decision making and angst. Bob and the small team decided more than ever this year it was important to go ahead. The programme of events wasn’t as full as normal but still with lots of variety ie bands, guitarists, poetry, theatre, comedy . Starting with a few words of welcome to the audience in the United Reform Church before the programme there got underway. I headed next to offcially open the event in the grounds of the castle as the clouds darkened. Thanks to Lord and Lady Egremont for the use of the castle grounds. Such an atmospheric outdoor performance setting. Undeterred the Cockermouth Mechanics Brass Band performed with gusto the first half of their programme before heavy rain stopped play! Wild Chorus, a choir which regularly sing outdoors, stepped into the breach. With no instruments other than their vocal chords to get wet they treated the assembled crowd to a very cheerful set of songs. A High Sheriffs’ velvet court dress doesn’t fare too well in the wet – so I donned my cape and boots and headed off to address the Kirkgate audience. Serving hot and cold drinks inside this venue was popular. The newly revamped downstairs room looked great. It was fabulous to hear and see live entertainment again. Lots of people out in support and the rain eased off. We stopped to watch Professor Pumpernickel entertaining a group of children (and adults) with his explosive street theatre science show. Evening events including Kathryn Tickell Trio were sold out. A huge Thank You to the organising team and congratulations on another successful festival. If you missed it this year or are inspired to volunteer check out the web link or contact any of the organisers.
30th June Citizens in Policing Team Kendal
It was great to be invited to meet the Citizens in Policing team and some Police Cadets from across the County. An informative presentation about the work this team does and the important role volunteers play to help with policing. The role of the volunteer is developing continuously at Cumbria Constabulary – with increasing opportunities to work either on the front-line or in vital support service teams. Five older Cadets, from each of the places Cadet training is held- Kendal, Barrow, Workington, Penrith and Carlisle, told us about the challenges and highlights of their time in the Cadets. Police Cadets are in the 13 – 17 age group but there is also a mini police scheme for 9 – 11 year olds operating in about 30 Cumbrian schools. The Cadets and Mini police aim to provide young people with a positive view of policing and help develop qulaities and skills for whatever direction they take in adult life. Its not a police recruitment drive. One highlight was the experiences on their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme expedition and how their confidence has developed. The Cadet scheme offers a structured and varied programme of learning much of it experiential. Whatever these young people choose to do as careers it is clear they have benefited from their time in Cadets. Well done to you all.
29th June Love Barrow Families, Barrow
“to create magic dust and leave it behind wherever we go“! What a fabulous mission statement. Love Barrow `Families is the result of local families and agencies working together to achieve better outcomes using an intergrated approach. Sitting outside in the courtyard with a cuppa and lunch was just the best way to meet and chat with some of the families and volunteers. Alison and Dean explained they all get stuck into whatever is helping to make this area a better place to live, whether its litter picking, creating a community garden or simply being available for a chat. Their growing work with families & communities in Barrow is truly wonderful. Together they are making a real difference. Love Barrow Families are progressively setting up more communities across Barrow and spreading even more magic dust!!!
Barrow Domestic Appliances
Our visit happened at an exciting point of development for this charity. They are in the process of moving out of the old premises into a newer larger one with great plans for a showroom, more storage and workshop area. The purpose is to seek to re-use electrical appliances for the benefit of the local community and to reduce landfill. Donated or unwanted items are collected free and then checked over, serviced and if possible repaired ready for resale at an affordable price. The work is carried out by a qualified engineer with volunteers who get valuable work experience. Thank you Paul (CEO) and Graham (Company Secretary) for our visit and we wish all the best for the move – so much possibility and so many parts to move to make it a reality.
The Well, Barrow
business and Maintained Well, a repairs and maintenance business. An ambition of The Well is to create meaningful employment.
Women's Community Matters, Nan Tait Centre, Barrow
The Women’s Community Matters in Barrow is to be found in the impressive Nan Tait building. A 1900’s terracotta and redbrick listed building. Greeted by two Kickstart employees, Abbi and Esther we had a guided tour of the building and their work from Rachael, the Centre Manager. The charity is run by women for women and offers a wide range of courses, support groups, activities and appointments in a safe space. The aim is to support women with anything they may need help with including benefits, housing, domestic or sexual abuse, the police, courts, prison, mental wellbeing, employment, education and social activities.
Their motto “With love, care, compassion and kindness we will change the world” was needed even more during the Covid lockdowns and they worked non – stop during this time as, sadly, many more women found their personal circumstances exacerbated. Because its not always just the women that are effected by some of the issues but whole families they do have a boys/young men facilitated group in a separate part of the building.
Leonard Cheshire Youthability, Walney Island
22nd June Project John, Barrow
Along with four members of the CCF Grant Panels we enjoyed meeting staff and volunteers at Project John. Greeted with a friendly smile and a cuppa its easy to see how this space provides the much needed support for so many young people. Regaled with the story of aquiring and transforming this building into a bright, modern and useful facility is testament to the vision and energy of all those involved, especially Nicola the Project Manager and “John” a young man who dreamt of such a place but sadly never actually lived to see it realised.
Project John is a supported housing project for young people aged 16-24 years. It provides accommodation, training and support. They offer the helping hand when its neeeded and many of the young people continue to drop in and stay in touch long after they have aquired the skills and confidence to enjoy an independent lifestyle. Thank you for our excellent lunch and uplifting conversation about the differences the work and dedication is making. An inspirational visit.
Brathay Trust, Barrow Office
Co-located at Project John the Brathay Trust staff explained how they are working in collaboration with other organisations in the area to provide support and development opportunities for young people who are facing challenges. They focus on 13-16 year olds and youth offending prevention. Sarah, who leads the project in Barrow, can also access the Trusts facilities and resources at Ambleside to complement the work they do locally. It is great to hear about the emphasis on collaborative working and generating better outcomes and effective use of resources. Welll done.
Bram Longstaffe Nursery, Barrow
Dave, Jackie and Jo provided the guided tour and of this bright and cared for building. The outdoor spaces were imaginatively developed and the pupils are clearly encouraged to play and learn out of doors. The nursery isn’t only for the young there is a well used community room, which local adults come to for training and support. In fact the centre is undergoing a transformation in to a Community Hub and is now run as a Charity. The highly energetic Dave along with Jackie the Chair painted a vision of a hugely important one-stop shop for guidance and support for residents of Barrow island. Wishing you every success.
Walney Community Trust, Walney Island
Spring Mount Community Hall has been a food hub and support centre over the past year in response to the local needs due to Covid. The hall is a simple but provided the necessary space to respond to the demand. Ros, Centre Manager and Shirley, Trustee and volunteer explained how they had to learn and adapt fast to cope. They quickly realised that food ingredients weren’t always all that was needed, sometimes it was a kettle or a microwave too. As the urgency diminishes the Trust is reviewing what they have learnt and what is now needed for the community.
A vibrant Youth Club runs from this building too. Alysha (senior youth worker), operates a drop in place as well as directed sessions and working in schools. We were proudly shown the results of one the initiatives by two of the young members – they have been shown how to grow vegetables and are keenly tending the plants to maturity so they can get on with cooking them. Young people need good youth clubs , thank you for showing us this one.
15th June Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Foulshaw Moss, Grange over Sands
We saw them, the Opsreys at Foulshaw Moss. This is the draw card for so many people in person and on the webcam but as we learnt the birds are more common than the habitat. Lowland raised mires like Foulshaw Moss are one of Western Europe’s rarest and most threatened habitats. Around 94% of this unique habitat has been destroyed or damaged in the UK, so these remaining areas are incredibly important for a range of wildlife. We enjoyed fabulous weather and expert knowledge from Paul, Nature Reserve Officer, David, Conservation Manager and Hazel, Senior Fundraising Officer. A group of local school children from Dean Barwick Primary were eagerly recording their sightings of dragonflies with guidance from Danni. Its always good to see children being actively encouraged to learn outside the classroom. The board walks give easy access to this special habitat to see the wildlife and the habitat restoration work that the Wildlife Trust and the volunteers are doing. Thank you for such an informative and enjoyable outing to learn and see more of this precious area of peat bog.
National Trust, Boon Crag, Coniston
Next stop and more to see and learn about a different Cumbrian habitat. We went with Simon, the Ranger for Coniston and Little Langdale and Ross, Fundraising, on to higher ground to view the improvement work going on. Working with the tenant farmers to look after the long term viability of the land and nature is key to the success of the Trust’s strategy for the landscape. There are so many factors to take into consideration and balance to care for the environment and the various land users. Timber for the new tree cages is sourced locally from National Trust woodland, it is untreated and will naturally biodegrade but it does take more work and cost to erect than using plastic grow tubes. This is just one example of how the NT and the farmers are tackling land management with a creative and environmentally conscious approach to ensure a sustainable future for all. We enjoyed some thought provoking conversations and the fabulous views over Coniston.
Lake District Mobility, Langdale Estate, Langdale
What a great way to complete todays visits. We started at the Langdale Estate which hosts two Tramper Mobility Scooters for hire at very very low cost. A quick lesson on how to drive one and we were ready to explore. Ilse set off and I followed on the trail to Skelwith Bridge. The vehicles are easy to use, felt very robust and secure. It was easy for others in our party to walk alongside to chat with the drivers, making it a very sociable form of transport.
The germ of the idea came to the founder Julia out of a conversation with her grandfather who wanted to get up in the mountains one more time. She has worked so hard to grow the idea that ‘Anyone with limited mobility should have access to the outdoors’ into reality. This charity is still in its infancy but with ambition to grow the provision. It is also linked to other Countryside Mobility sites. So do have a look at the website to find out more about access to this great resource.
Thank you to Julia, Penny (Fundraising) and Ilse for an enjoyable and fun outing. Here’s to more journeys in the wonderful outdoors.
11th June WADAA at Castlehead Tarn, Grange over Sands
Another inspirational day. Lovely weather and three great projects to see.
First stop a fishing lake. Run by WADAA angling association. Nick, Director, took us on a tour and explained all the devoplements to make this an accessible venue. Though off grid a few solar panels provide power for the oxygenator and lighting for the composting toilet. A group from Dallam School were learning about fishing and the environment. Great excitement when an eel was caught by one of the pupils – his first ever catch of anything and what a rare catch too. This project is still being developed and WADAA would love to hear from more community groups about using it. So beneficial for people to be able to enjoy an outdoor activity. Thank you for the invite.
The Bee Team at Heron Hill Primary, Kendal
Greeted by some of the Bee Team pupils after school. They were so knowledgable about all matters on apiary and very keen to show us their site and explain why looking after bees matters so much. Their bee suits were aptably embroidered with Sheriff badges ( we felt very honoured – it just happens to be the name of the company which makes the suits!) Jacqui and Karen the two inspirational adults who run the project want this project to bee ( apologies bee puns and all things bee related adorn their hut) for the community as well as benefiting the school. So much valuable and great education is happening through this project. Finn, is a great example of what can be achieved. He is progressing through his apprenticeship and helps to manage and run the project too. Hats off to all involved, Jaqui for getting the project off the ground and the school for getting behind the opportunity and of course to all the pupils who are doing the bee keeping as they learn, acquire skills and qualifications.
Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, Troutbeck Instute
A balmy summer evening – an outdoor bar, people enjoying the chance to meet face to face and be in a real audience. Highlights Rural Touring Scheme connects over 65 venues, an army of volunteer promoters and an ever-growing list of artists. Together, they bring great arts and unmissable culture to rural areas, lighting up village halls, schools and community centres with music, dance, theatre and storytelling. We watched a one man show “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. A challenging book to reduce to a two hour performance but we were kept entertained and informed throughout. Really importnat to make the arts available to a largely rural county.
8th June Carer Support South Lakes Kendal
A great pleasure to be involved today in the official opening of the new offices for Carers South Lakes in Kendal. They do a fantastic job caring for carers. With so many adult and young carers in the area their role is absolutely vital and much appreciated. Good luck in expanding the support to reach more of the amazing carers in your area.
3rd June Elite Stars & Chance Camp, Cockermouth Rugby Union Club
The Elite Stars programme offers pupils from Cockermouth School a personal development opportunity to learn through a mix of theory and practical sessions about leadership qualities, working as a team, specific sports coaching skills and event management. Then they get to put this knowledge into practise helping to run a Chance Camp. We were invited to see the last of a three day Chance Camp put on during this half term. Head Coach Chris and Senior Coach Rob gave us the guided tour while the Elite Stars managed the afternoon warm up and competition activites which they had planned. It was relatively cold today after the recent heatwave and threatening rain but the young people were so busy no one noticed as they tackled team challenges, cheering each other on in a spirit of friendly rivalry. There were problem solving tasks, agility tests, and obstacle races. The final race involved chasing and soaking the junior coaches. It was clearly enjoyed by everyone. Points were tallied and the High Sheriff was asked to present medals and prizes to all the teams. Some of the individuals on the Elite Stars programme will be continuing to help with Chance Camps this summer and one has been offered employment. A great programme, well run and giving more young people the chance to develop confidence, skills and friendships through participation in an outdoor setting. All the very best for continuing with this vaulable initiative.
27th May Meals on Wheels, Carlisle
Meals on Wheels, a not-for-profit enterprise service, provides hearty, nutritious food to people in Carlisle and the wider region, who struggle to make meals for themselves. Now based in Raffles Community Hall the meals are prepared, cooked and packed on site for transporting in insulated crates. Trisha( Manager) and David (Trustee) explained the mechanics and challenges of running the service. It was all calmly efficient, fresh veg was being prepared by volunteers and the cooks were busy in the kitchen. We even a managed a cuppa before a group of volunteer drivers arrived promptly to get the meals delivered. We were invited to follow one driver on her round. What a welcome sight a friendly face is for the customers. We had a great chat with one customer, Mr Crawford Nattrass, who was full of praise for the service. Having come through the challenges of moving premises, the restrictions of Covid and a fluctuating volunteer force last year Trish and her team keep smiling and providing a much needed service. Well done and thank you.
People First, Carlisle
Greeted enthusiastically at the door, we stepped into a very impressive space, with modern furnishing and art work (for sale too). Not at all what we were expecting. This is a conference centre with several rooms of differing sizes, a training place for students in the hospitality Academy and the office for People First. They are the largest provider of Advocacy in Cumbria, supporting thousands of people every year to have their voices heard and helping them to live their best lives.
The lovely luncheon menu had been chosen, prepared and served by the students. We heard the story of the beginnings of the organisation from the founder Dr Rohhss Chapman and updated on the current and future one by the CEO David. Such an inspirational journey. Everyone we met was so enthusiastic and passionate about the work they do. We had an excellent guided tour of the building by one of the senior students. Thank you for our tour and the importance of the work you do.
Last visit of the day and the most energetic ( well not for us but for the young people who had just completed a course based out of the WOW bus) Lisa, Director and Manager, introduced the facilities and explained the ethos behind ICan to us. Julie, the founder, wanted to help women change their thinking about fitness and health from I can’t to I Can. Staff and members were around to talk to us about their experiences and enthusiasm for the project and the positive differences it has made in their lives.
Several families arrived with their children to demonstrate the bounce session run out of the WOW bus (Wheels of Wellness). This is a mobile facility which enables ICan to engage with even more people to help them enjoy being active and healthy. ICan has responded to a need for local people and wants to do even more. There certainly was a feeling of community and energy about the place. Wishing you all the best and thank you for the chance to see and hear about your vision and committment focussed mainly on womens wellbeing.
26th May Wellness at Green Acres Barrow in Furness
We arrived to find a group of young people enjoying a celebratory picnic lunch. They had just completed a 6 week course. Led by Hilary and Rachel using the STILL method to help these young people gain important life skills. Being outdoors has been shown to be beneficial for the “wellness” of people and at Green Acres there is plenty of fresh air and space to learn in. The young people delighted in showing us some of the animals – ponies, guinea pigs and hens which are all part of the learning environment here. Well done to all of you for staying the course and now you have certificates too.
Dalton Community Centre, Dalton-in-Furness
We enjoyed a wonderful welcome from several trustees and the Dalton Town Mayor and Mayoress and a tour of the centre. Housed in an old Drill Hall and creatively updated to accomodate so many different user groups from the local community. So much has been achieved by the volunteer team guided by the Chair Barry Doughty to ensure this is a vibrant and relevant space. We were treated to a lovely lunch (thank you Brenda). Amazed by the imaginative use of both the inside and the outside space. The gardening project with Dalton Youthy spilling over to meet the local residents in the back street is an inspiration and shows just what can be achieved by people working together. Gates have been installed in the back street to stop vehicle access and residents now use it as a place for sitting out, growing plants and enjoying the crack. So many users (5000 per month) benefit from the effort and commitment to keep the centre in good order and viable; amongst others Dalton Youthy, Family Action, Local Library, Community Police Office, Dowdales School, Army Cadets, Drop Zone, Film club. This really is a Community Centre. Thank you for the invite to visit and see what can be done.
Duddon Inshore Rescue
This Inshore Rescue Station was built and developed by the local community as a direct response to a number of tragic events in 1969. Since its inception they have been involved in over 400 incidents on or around the treacherous waters of the Duddon estuary. The station is well equipped and of course well maintained by a small team. The boathouse doesn’t have a slip launching facility so a tractor is used to tow the rescue boat to the water, providing all weather access. They also use quad bikes to have quick and effective access to the sands along the estuary. Although they are an independent station they work with the coastguard to provide 24 hour coverage of this sometimes dangerous coastline with its shifting sands and exposure to the strong currents, tides and wild weather. We enjoyed our visit to see behind the scenes and hear about the challenges to keep it running safely and efficiently; the training, fund raising, hours of equipment maintenance and of course the dedication of the volunteers (and more always welcome). Thank you.
24th May Retained Fire Station Cockermouth
A truly fascinating visit this evening to Cockermouth Fire and Rescue. This is a retained a fire station, which means the firefighters all have other jobs and still provide 24 hour cover. As you can imagine they have to be ready for all sorts of situations and training is vitally important. I was invited to observe an exercise simulating a road traffic accident with a person trapped inside a vehicle. Quite scary, but also very encouraging to see if there is an accident just how quickly they can strip off the side of a car to rescue the person. They demonstrated very impressive teamwork and skill and what powerful and specialised equipment they need to be competent to use. This is such an important emergency service. Thank you to everyone at Cockermouth Fire Station part of Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.
17th May The Gather, Ennerdale Bridge
Absolutely delighted to be invited to the reopening of The Gather. A fabulous, vibrant community owned and run cafe, shop and community room in Ennerdale Bridge. Everyone was delighted to be able to open and have people inside to enjoy the great menu. It has kept going through the last year with a click and collect service and lots of hard work by the volunteers. Such a great resource whether you are local or visiting. Look them up for information about the live music/art events that are also part of the offering.
The scones with jam and cream were delicious. Thank you.
13th May Beacon Hill Community Bike Club, Aspatria
Two inspirational teachers and 4 students guided us around the Bike Club. Mr Gee and Mr Young – both keen bikers – realised through conversations with students that biking would be a fantastic way to provide an activity that would engage and provide challenge. The Bike Club was born. Weekly local rides on any bikes the students had developed into dreams and schemes of greater adventures – Coast to Coast, French battlefield tour, Pisa to Rome, French Alps including the brutal Tour de France Alpe D’Huez section. The students told us of the challenges of fund raising, training rides in all weathers, bike maintenance, highlights of foreign cuisine, low times managed by everyone acting as team and dishing out encouragement to each other. What a fantastic initiative. As always hats off to the volunteer leaders who make this possibe and to all the young people who have persevered and gained so much by committing to the tours. Bigger dreams now of getting a training track built.
1st Wigton Baden Powell Scouts
What a different evening – torrential rain! Undeterred the Scouts turned out in force to complete this evenings challenge, cooking supper on open fires. They prepared parcels of vegetables and chicken, a hot drink and camp doughnuts. Cautiously we accepted the latter. Expecting a rather soggy mass of batter, instead a toasted concoction of jam, bread, butter and sugar. Scrumptious and definitely on our own camp fire menu in future. They all successfully passed and clearly enjoyed the challenge which was strictly scored by their leader. Well done indeed given the conditions.
The inspirational Julie Bryceson showed us proudly around the recently purchased woodland, which is already being well used and provides the space for a greater range of activities for the different age groups – Beavers to Senior Scouts. Parents told us of the value of their youngsters attending scouts; learning skills, making friends and taking responsibility. Volunteer leaders oversee a vibrant troop of currently 120 young people and growing. A real tribute to the hard work from all involved.
Thank you for a great evening and letting me off the washing up (this time!)
4th May 1st Hayton Rainbows, Brownies and Guides
Chloe, Leader and Lorraine, Border Divisional Commissioner, several volunteers and a lot of energetic Brownies greeted us at the playing field in Gt Corby this evening. Luckily the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to shine. They were all clearly having fun. Not having enough space to meet safely (Covid rules) at their home base in Hayton they are temporarily meeting in Gt Corby. They were curious about their visitor and I was invited to tell them a bit about the history and the modern day role of a High Sheriff and answer questions. Some great questions were asked and one was especially thought provoking; “Your title sounds important, so why are visiting us?”
I am firmly of the opinion that one of the most valuable actions a High Sheriff can do is to highlight the everyday things so many people do to help make better communities. So everyone is worth a visit.
A session for Guides and Rangers next. Wide games and geocaching activities continued despite the rather large hail stones. The enthusiasm and good attendance numbers are a tribute to all the leaders and volunteers who give their time week after week and in one instance for 20+ years.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet your group, to hear about all the activites you do and see so many young people enjoying being able to be together again. If you want to find out more about this dynamic group look them up on facebook.
Cross Bay Walk 31st July
Another reorganised event – like many it was planned for last year by Julie Barton the previous High Sheriff. The good news is places are available. If you ever fancied the idea of walking across Morecambe Bay ( expertly guided of course) then here is your chance and the registration fee is donated to Cumbria Community Foundation. Hopefully see you there.
All monies raised will go to the High Sheriff’s General Fund, managed by Cumbria Com- munity Foundation, which supports voluntary and community groups in Cumbria help- ing people facing disadvantage. Anyone wishing to also fundraise for the High Sheriff Fund can either make a one-off donation or set up a fundraising page and encourage friends and family to sponsor their walk. For more information, visit: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/high-sheriffs-general-fund/
All participants should have a reasonable level of fitness. Although the route is largely flat, the ground surface can be demanding consisting of sand, mud, shingle, pebble and rocks, and walkers will cross through at least two river channels. For more information
on what to expect and how to prepare for the walk, please visit:https://www.guideover-sands.co.uk/bay-walks/prepare/
17th March Borrowdale Institute Restoration
Walked to Rosthwaite to meet Malcolm so we could see for ourselves how much progress has happened. Works are entering the home straight. What an amazing effort to raise the money and get the job done, especially with the challenges of this past year. So exciting to see the changes and really looking forward to the official opening. A great resource for the community.
16th March Her Big 5 Challenges
After an excellent walk in fabulous weather (Catbells – Dale Head- Hindscarth) we dropped back down to the lakeside path near Hawes End where we enjoyed an ice cream from the mobile van and met the tenacious Jane Reedy, a teacher from Kendal. She was nearly at the end of completing the first of her Big 5 Challenges to raise money for Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK. It is 5 years since she was diagnosed with an advanced, rare and aggressive form of oesophageal cancer and a year later she was diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene, meaning an increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Not someone to give up she is doing this “to spread some ‘hope’ to those who are going through their own personal ‘unchosen challenges’, develop an understanding of cancer whilst challenging myself with different sports”
A fantastic effort Jane and we were humbled and inspired to meet you. 1 down 4 to go.
You can read more about her Big 5 Challenges and support Jane using the link below.
14 April Cumbria Wildlife Trust & Mencap at Gosling Sike, Houghton
Great visit to see the excellent site and work Cumbria Wildlife Trust are doing at Gosling Sike, Houghton. The sun shone. Everyone was so pleased to be open again. A regular group of volunteers from Mencap were helping to tidy up the effects of Covid induced neglect and getting the garden ready for more visitors. It is so important for people to be able to get out into nature, especially after this last year. Thank you to Jody, Centre Manager, for an overview of the place, Steve, CEO for insight into Cumbria Wildlife Trust and their future plans especially for green social prescibing. Keep an eye on their website. Also to Sheila, Mencap Director for an explanation of the good work of Carlisle Mencap and to the 3 trustees of Cumbria Community Foundation who joined us to see what the funding received from CCF has helped to achieve. We were sorry to have to leave for our next visit before the birthday cake for two of the Mencap group was cut.
Watchtree Nature Reserve
and the sun just kept shining. Next stop Watchtree near Gt Orton. Greeted by the ever enthusiastic manager Ryan Gosling. We heard about the site’s history from WW2 to the present day nature reserve. After the last Foot and Mouth outbreak, 20 years ago, the local community wanting something positive to come out of those tragic events. So today its a fabulous accessible resource for recreation, education and the environment. 205 acres in total meant to see the variety of activites and meet staff and volunteers we needed wheels. There are plenty of those for hire. Ryan suprised us with our wheels for the day. It was such fun.
We visited a group of youngsters enjoying an outdoor learning session and celebrating with toasting marshmallows around the fire they had built. Met a keen group of volunteers making charcoal ( which is for sale ) and had a delicious picnic lunch (all the goodies from the on site cafe). Back at the cycle hire and repair Matt told us you can take your own bikes in for repair/service and they will take old bikes to renovate and add to their hire fleet. This creates very welcome income. Such a joy to visit Watchtree and see the good work going on.
10 April Carlisle Cathedral - The Eucharist service following the announcement of the death of Prince Philip
Not the anticipated start of my year as High Sheriff but I was honoured to be able to attend a service acknowledging the death and life of Prince Philip. A sad piece of news. He contributed in so many ways to so many people. A life well lived. My thoughts are with his family and especially the Queen at this time of loss and rememberance.
High Sheriff Installation 31st March 2021
In September 2019 Soo and I walked the Cumbria Way with 2 good friends. Along the route I took the opportunity to visit a number of charities who receive funding from the Cumbria Community Foundation which I have the privilege to Chair. Walking along the route provided significant insight to some very different parts of Cumbria and opportunities for a crack. Ranging from the joy of our landscape (particularly when it’s not raining!) to some of the real challenges faced by our communities.