The Charity currently known as ACTion with Communities in Cumbria was formed in 1948. On the 19th October that year a group of partners, including County Councillors from Cumberland and Westmorland and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture met in Penrith at the first meeting of the Cumberland and Westmorland Council for Social Service. Despite the initial intention that the Charity operate across two counties, the reality was that within a few months the focus of its work was the county of Cumberland.
The Charity was born of a need for effective collaboration between the voluntary and statutory sectors if welfare needs were to be met. Of particular concern were the challenges faced by West Cumberland communities that were still suffering from the after affects of the depression years of the 1930s. There was concern too about changes affecting rural economy. These themes are reflected in the Charity’s early work. This included many activities with a social purpose, such as support older people, over 60’s concerts, craft exhibitions, holidays and a long-running programme of training for retirement.
With a more practical focus was the creation of the Rural Industries Sub Committee. This led projects intended to help rural people manage dramatic economic change, an example being the retraining of blacksmiths as motor engineers. The Charity also began a continuing programme of support for other groups, in its early days providing the secretariat for the Guild of Lakeland Craftsmen, the Churches Group for Social Responsibility and the Parish Councils Association.
Some of these early activities were to be a feature of its work throughout its life, including its Village Halls Advice Service and support, in various guises, for a Best Kept Village Competition. Also a continuing feature was its early involvement in social and community research which, in those early days, included reports on issues such as rural homelessness and the use of village halls.
With the creation of Cumbria in 1974 the organisation at last realised the aspirations of its founders, becoming active throughout what had been the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and those parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire that were merged to form the new County.
Operating initially as Cumbria Council for Voluntary Action the organisation very soon adopted the working name of Voluntary Action Cumbria (VAC) that was to badge its work for the next 34 years.
The Charity took the opportunity presented by its 60th Anniversary to reflect upon its role in Cumbria and consult with stakeholders. It was concluded that the organisation’s focus on supporting action within communities was not well reflected in the name Voluntary Action Cumbria, which spoke more of its work in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Accordingly, in October 2008 the working name ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT for short) was adopted. The Charity feels that this reflects its commitment to supporting communities to:
Over 70 years there have been consistent themes, tackling disadvantage, working with communities, advising village halls and community groups, rural services, transport, rural retail, employment, in other words constant adjustment to change.
In the course of that time one outstanding feature has been the role of the Charity in supporting the formation or early years of a wide variety of other organisations that also continue to service Cumbrian communities.
Among those organisations that have their roots in the Charity are:
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on: preparing for re-opening; insurance; Test & Trace and collecting contact details; children &young people activities; playgrounds; and indoor gym & leisure facilities. It includes links to updated ACRE information, following Government Guidance and Regulatory change. Please also read the previous 2, 11, 16 June and 3 July Updates.
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on: preparing for re-opening, indoor sport, and use by schools and holiday/after school clubs. It includes links to updated ACRE information, following recent Government guidance issued. Please also read the previous 2, 11 and 16 June Updates.
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on: preparing for re-opening; indoor markets; places of worship; and ventilation systems. Please also read the previous 2 June and 11 June Updates.
ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) - the rural and community development charity for the county – has been working with the team behind the Cumbria Village Halls Network to support them in reaching over 100 members. The Network is hosted on Facebook and provides a forum where the volunteer hall committees can come together, and learn from each other, share best practice and keep up to date.
With the fast-moving events around managing COVID-19 this has proved to be invaluable to those managing village halls across Cumbria. ACT is encouraging all village halls in the county to join and take advantage of the benefits of being part of this virtual community.
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on possible re-opening; sport and recreation facilities; working with user groups; insurance, and converting ticket refunds and subscriptions into Gift Aid donations. Please also read the previous 2 June Update.
This article contains information for village halls and community buildings on possible re-opening dates; activities in and outside your hall; and financial assistance to help with loss of income.
Registered in England as Voluntary Action Cumbria. Charity Number: 1080875
Company Number: 3957858
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