Grants have been awarded to five north Cumbrian charities supporting those struggling with the impact of the covid pandemic

A charitable fund set up to support those struggling to cope in north Cumbria, has awarded its first grants.

The £180,000 Psychological Support Fund was created by the NHS and Cumbria County Council, and is held by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Bids which demonstrate a collaborative approach, and tackle the impact of anxiety, isolation, and bereavement have been reviewed and a total of £79,700 awarded.

They are:
•    Together We CIC in west Cumbria has been awarded £25,000 to increase the number of people struggling with their mental wellbeing
•    Mencap Carlisle has been awarded £15,000 to support a wellbeing and nature project 
•    iCan Health and Fitness CIC in Carlisle has been awarded £15,000 to expand and support people’s physical and mental wellbeing
•    Cumbria Youth Alliance has been awarded £14,700 around tackling gaming addiction in young people
•    Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland has been awarded £10,000 to offer more bereavement support and counselling


Together We CIC – Community Interest Company - aims to empower people to take control over their physical and mental health and wellbeing. The Together We Talk project provides 1 to 1 psychological and mental health interventions for all ages from 11 upwards. 

Director Sam Joughin said: “The funding allows the project to increase capacity by targeting a further 80 people struggling with their mental health. It is very much needed to meet the increased pressure placed on the service during this uncertain and difficult time for many people." 

People with learning disability and/or autism have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the regulations that came with it. Many never really came out of the first lockdown as their usual activities, like being able to attend day services, were not always available to them.

Sheila Gregory, Director at Carlisle Mencap, said: “These restrictions and the fear created by the virus have had detrimental effects on their mental health. We fear it will take people a very long time to recover. This is why this grant, which takes us into a period of recovery, is so very welcome. We know that being in the outdoors and close to nature is a great healer, so we delighted to working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust on this project.”

Julia Clifford, Director at iCan Health & Fitness said: “Our services are facing increasing demand due to COVID-19 and our mission is to encourage and empower as many people in our community as possible. Thanks to this funding, we will be able to offer new and exciting amenities that will help so many, through such tough times. Leaders with lived experience are crucial to the ongoing societal change we so desperately need and with this money, we aim to support them to become life changing heroes in their own communities.”

Cumbria Youth Alliance will be working with young people around online gaming addiction. 

Sophie Birkett, Finance, Contracts and Compliance Officer for Cumbria Youth Alliance, said: “Due to COVID-19 many young people have turned to their screens as a coping mechanism and while this is ok in moderation having an addiction to online gaming can have a detrimental effect on young people’s mental health. 

“We firmly believe this is a gap that lacks the support needed. With this funding, we can help and support young people with understanding the effects of having a gaming addiction, offering other coping mechanisms, improving mental health, and helping them to support their peers.”

Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland will use the funding to provide bereavement support through its Family Support Team.

Alison Manson, Counsellor and Family Support Service Lead, said: “This magnificent commitment will now allow us to expand the service and offer further support to many more individuals. This will be of huge benefit, particularly at this potentially crucial isolating time for vulnerable people, their families and carers. 

“I would like to thank the Psychological Support Fund for making a difference to local bereaved individuals within our community.”

The considerable impact of Covid-19, and the subsequent lockdown, has been significant on people’s lives - physically, emotionally and economically. 

The fund can be accessed by third sector organisations in north Cumbria supporting people with anxiety and isolation and other mental health issues. It is also for organisations supporting those who have been bereaved. 

For more information or to apply for up to £25,000, call 01900 825760 or visit www.cumbriafoundation.org 

There is also support for anyone aged 16 and over facing increased anxiety and other mental health challenges via Togetherall, an online service offering online peer-peer support, access to an anonymous community and lots of information, as well as courses and resources covering a range of mental health and wellbeing topics. The service can be accessed online from anywhere, at any time. All people need to do is register with their postcode at: www.togetherall.com/  

The online service Kooth is available for young people aged 11-18 in Cumbria www.kooth.com/

Notes to Editors:

•    Cumbria Community Foundation is a charity dedicated to meeting community need by grant aiding community and voluntary organisations in Cumbria. It was launched in 1999 and has given out more than £46 million in grant aid. It is an award-winning charity dedicated to improving community life by making grants to local charities. For further information visit: www.cumbriafoundation.org  

•    The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund was launched March 17, exactly two weeks after Cumbria recorded its first case of coronavirus and six days before the UK went into a national lockdown. For more information on the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund, visit: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/covid19-response-fund 

•    To find out more about the Psychological Support Fund or to apply, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org or call Annalee Holliday on 01900 825760