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ACT Staff

Lorrainne Smyth - Chief Executive

Lorranine SmythLorrainne was appointed as Chief Executive in 2012. Prior to this she worked as Strategic Policy Advisor/ Community Programmes and Performance Manager at Cumbria County Council where she advised on community engagement and inclusion. Lorrainne's background is in community development, specialising in rural communities. Between 1993 and 2007 she worked at ACT as the Development Team Manager, taking responsibility for a variety of projects. She has worked extensively with parish councils, village halls, graduate apprentices, and undertaken project development and delivery with communities throughout Cumbria. Lorrainne has also held management positions in private sector training and development companies, local authorities, and Third Sector organisations, placing an emphasis on shared learning and the development process.

Julia Wilson – Development Manager

Julia Wilson photoJulia joined ACT in 2002 and is the Development Manager. She works part-time for ACT developing new project ideas and identifying funding opportunities.

Previous roles for ACT have included development work with communities in the south of the county and project management. Julia has 20 years experience in the voluntary sector and has worked for the Wildlife Trusts, Cumbria CVS and Brathay Trust.  

 Hellen Aitken – Development Officer

Hellen joined ACT in 2006. In her role as Development Officer she focuses on the North of the county, supporting communities with Community Led Planning, Village Halls advice, Community Emergency Planning and other initiatives.

In recent years Hellen has taken the lead on delivering a number of community energy projects at ACT, particularly in relation to Fuel Poverty, a key issue affecting rural communities. Prior to joining ACT Hellen led a project for the Princes Trust, mentoring and facilitating learning for young people.   

 

Fran Richardson – Development Officer  

Fran Richardon photoFran joined the ACT team in September 2015 and is Development Officer working with communities in the south of the county. She supports the work of groups involved in Community Led Planning and offers advice to Village Halls on a range of practical and governance issues.

Fran has over fifteen years experience working for a national charity in which she created, funded and managed opportunities to engage volunteers in practical environmental work and training. She has a particular interest in sustainable living and social equity, including community led development, locally-owned renewable energy production and making sure that communities work to meet the needs of those who require support.

 

Dani Hudson –  Office Manager

Dani Hudson PhotoDani joined ACT in 2005 after relocating from Yorkshire where she worked as PA to Chief Executive of a group of international companies. As well as administering the Cumbria Rural Forum she also provides PA support to the Chief Executive, organises ACT’s events and conferences.

Dani is the public voice of ACT. She is responsible for the smooth running of the offices, finances and support services to the ACT team and all those who call us with enquiries.

Latest News

Prince's Countryside Fund supports resilience in Community Buildings

4 April 2017

Prince's Countryside Fund supports resilience in Community Buildings

Volunteers from across the county have met with ACTion with Communities in Cumbria to discuss how village halls and other community buildings can be more resilient.

ACT champions community and rural issues, and sees community buildings as a critical part of vibrant, sustainable rural life. Funding from the Prince’s Countryside Fund is supporting ACT to develop a toolkit to help community buildings manage risks and be more resilient.

Chancellor urged to issue Budget VAT refund to village hall charities

30 March 2017

Chancellor urged to issue Budget VAT refund to village hall charities

ACTion with communities in Cumbria is urging the Government to pledge £3 million in the Budget to refund the VAT paid by village halls on improvement work such as modern kitchen and toilet facilities and new meeting rooms. 

New ACT Trustees

21 February 2017

New ACT Trustees

/Portals/0/ACT Press Releases/2017-02-21 New Trustees PR.pdf?ver=2017-02-21-104044-950ACTion with communities in Cumbria champions community and rural issues and are welcoming two energetic, committed people to join our board of trustees. As a registered charity that has been functioning for almost 70 years, we need trustee board members who can use their local knowledge and understanding to think strategically about how best to support rural communities to thrive.

Our two new ACT Board members come from very different backgrounds and bring a diverse range of skillsets and expertise to the table. 

Big Lottery Fund pledges £1 million support to help Cumbrian communities become more resilient in the wake of the December floods

13 September 2016

Big Lottery Fund pledges £1 million support to help Cumbrian communities become more resilient in the wake of the December floods

The Big Lottery Fund has today announced a £1 million package to help Cumbrian communities become more resilient. This comes in the wake of December’s devastating floods, and will help local people, communities and organisations to prepare for similar events in the future.

The ‘Rebuilding Together’ programme will take place over the next 3 years, led by Cumbria CVS and delivered in partnership with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) and Action with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) – three local charities with a long history of working together to support Cumbrian communities and organisations.

Future support for community-led housing solutions

29 July 2016

Future support for community-led housing solutions

Across the country celebrations have been taking place as part of Rural Housing Week, to celebrate and promote community solutions to housing issues. ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is taking this opportunity to promote the development of a new service to support communities in the future.

 

Support on hand for volunteers running Cumbria's village halls

29 July 2016

Support on hand for volunteers running Cumbria's village halls

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) has supported village halls for over 60 years with specialist advice and information and has now secured funding to provide help for hall volunteers until 2017.

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Kerry Barlow –  Business Admin Apprentice 

Kerry joined the ACT team in September 2016 as our Business Admin Apprentice after returning back to Cumbria after serving in the forces. She is responsible for the general administration around the office. Kerry is hoping to achieve her Level 3 in Business Administration whilst working with us.