CHARITY CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF GIVING WITH EXHIBITION & BOOK

“GIVING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD” is the title of Cumbria Community Foundation’s celebratory year after two decades of life-changing work in the county.

 It is also the title of its new book and as the title suggests, it’s not just a look back at the amazing things the charity has achieved, but a look ahead to many more years of connecting people who care with causes that matter.

 It was launched last week, 9th May at a special event at Rheged, near Penrith, along with an exhibition of 20 photographs that appear in the book.

Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “I have led Cumbria Community Foundation since day one and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved. From responding to disasters like Foot and Mouth and the three devastating floods to the little things we make happen every single day.

“It’s quite humbling to see this selection of photographs together in a book and to read the stories about truly inspiring Cumbrians. We are really fortunate as a charity that we have generous donors who set up funds, enthusiastic supporters who have dreams of a better Cumbria and go about making it happen, and of course thousands of people whose lives have changed in some way by either giving or receiving money.

“I am hoping that we can mark this momentous year by raising £250,000 for the Cumbria Fund 20th Anniversary Appeal – we’ve banked almost £30,000 – and I am confident that with a whole host of fundraising events planned by our supporters, we will achieve this target. We’re always grateful for help and anyone who wishes to take on a challenge to raise a bit of that total would be most welcome.”

The 50-page book is a celebration of everything the charity stands for, which is summed up in a specially commissioned poem by Barrow poet Kim Moore. She read her piece, which is published in the book, at the launch event.

Broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg has written an introduction to the book. He said: “Wherever you look, the people of Cumbria are helping the people of Cumbria, and friends of Cumbria, far and wide, are sending in welcome and moving contributions. It’s heartwarming, it’s effective, and in my view, it’s the only way forward to keep our unique society together and to give people the life chances we all want them to have.”

It was the vision of Cumbrians like John Fryer-Spedding who decided to take action to make the difference he wanted to see in the county. He gathered 20 like-minded philanthropists and started working tirelessly to see Cumbria Community Foundation born. He said he was inspired by the Queen’s Christmas broadcast in 1997, where she said: ‘I pray that we, the more fortunate ones, can unite and lend a helping hand wherever it is needed and not pass by on the other side.’ The founding group wanted to build a professionally managed endowment fund of £3m in four years. It went much better than that – since 1999 it has given out £44 million in grant aid. He said: “The Foundation has always aimed to back every corner of the county and every type of eligible need. Through its excellent grant-making it has steadily built a growing number of fundholders and supporters. We feel a long way from the starting line now.”

Copies of the book are available for a donation from Cumbria Community Foundation. All the money from the sale of Giving Back, Looking Forward will go to the Cumbria Fund 20th Anniversary Appeal.

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