Lorrainne 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 emphasis on shared learning and the development process.
Julia 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 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 Resilience, Emergency Planning and other initiatives.
Prior to joining ACT Hellen established and led a programme for the Princes Trust in West Cumbria, mentoring and facilitating learning for young people.
Fran joined the ACT team in 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 previous 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 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 Panel, Rebuilding Together and the Community Resilience Network she also provides PA support to the Chief Executive, organises ACT's events and conferences, and is currently mentor for our Business Administration Apprentice. 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.
Katie joined the ACT team in March 2019 as a part-time Development Officer with a focus on championing community-led housing in Copeland. Katie has a strong background in environmental conservation and an experienced footing with farmers, volunteers and community groups. She has previously worked for West Cumbria Rivers Trust, Lancashire & Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB.
Katie was also a Research Assistant at the Centre for Rural Research (based at the University of Worcester) investigating a broad range of issues from recreational use of protected landscapes to the wider impacts of polytunnel agriculture.
Jemma joined ACT in October 2019 and is the Project Officer for the Neighbourliness Works project, which supports Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators to look out for their neighbours in order to make their communities a more kind and caring place in which to live.
Previously Jemma has worked for the Churches Trust for Cumbria and Historic Environment Scotland advising on changes to listed buildings. Jemma works 1 day a week at ACT (usually Wednesdays) and also works as a complementary therapist.
Communities across Cumbria are preparing for Village Halls Week – a national celebration of village halls, their volunteers, and the services they offer their communities. This year Village Halls Week runs from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th January, and begins with a launch event at the House of Commons, hosted by Defra Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble.
Hellen Aitken from Cumbrian community development charity ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) will be attending the launch in London, together with David Anderson, Chairman of Kirkby in Furness Community Centre, one of three Cumbrian halls to recently benefit from funding from the Defra funded Village Hall Improvement Grant.
Members of the Cumbria Village Halls Network got together last week for a free workshop on using websites and social media. The group met in the cosy community room at Dufton Village Hall, using their recently installed broadband. With help from web-designer Phil Guest, the workshop was a whistle-stop tour of what makes a good website and how to make best use of social media for promotion.
The Village Halls Network is a way for committee members and trustees of community buildings across Cumbria to share practical ideas, relevant experience and to ask for help and advice. Members get together periodically, as well as supporting each other remotely.
Not only have the dedicated volunteers at Hunsonby Community Centre raised £300,000 to refurbish their community building, they’ve also been awarded a nationally recognised Hallmark quality standard for good governance.
Ofgem is carrying out a call for evidence for households who are not connected to the electricity distribution network, which we know at ACT is an issue for a significant number of Cumbrian residents
On the 13th November it is World Kindness Day, so as part of the #KindCumbria campaign we’ll be encouraging people to think about random acts of kindness and celebrating this on 13th November with our own very special 'Kind Cumbria Day'. Read more to find out how you can get involved.
The census rehearsal is in full swing and residents are being urged to complete their questionnaires online or at a community hub in Carlisle. The rehearsal will enable the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to test some of the systems and processes it has put in place ahead of the digital-first 2021 Census.
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