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Cheers to many more years of community action

Issued 21 Sept 2015

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) celebrated success with five community groups who have been providing valuable services in the county for more than ten years.

As part of ACT’s Annual General Meeting, ACT President Jolyon Dodgson awarded the five carefully selected groups with a Certificate of Sustainability, and a celebratory bottle of ‘bubbly’. Recipients then gave inspiring presentations to other community volunteers, support agencies and Local Authority representatives, sharing their experience and ideas for the future.

Community groups across the county are delivering vital support in rural areas. Reducing isolation, improving access to culture and entertainment and nurturing sustainable village living are being tackled successfully by resourceful community volunteers.

The following groups were celebrated:

  • Fellrunner Village Bus (award presented to Bill Mitchell and Jill Hay) has been operating a community minibus service in the East Fellside area of Eden since 1979. They have over 30 volunteers and run services Tuesday to Saturday every week helping people who live without a car to access vital services.
  • The Exchange at Crosthwaite (award presented to Geraldine Wilson and Caroline Holmes) has been providing a place for the exchange of local news, produce and groceries for over 10 years. Following the closure of the village shop the Exchange, held weekly at Crosthwaite Memorial Hall, has filled a social and practical function for residents of all ages and has become a focal point for seasonal and celebratory events.
  • Highlights Rural Touring Scheme (award presented to Barbara Slack) promote high quality arts experiences which tour to Village Halls, reaching those who have little access to professional theatre. After 18 years they have established links with 32 Village Halls and Community Centres in Cumbria and have extended their offer to communities in Northumberland and Durham.
  • The Northern Fells Group (award presented to Libby Graham) offer a range of fifteen services run by volunteers including minibus drivers, ‘lend a hand’ volunteers, and those who work in the Mosedale Coffee Shop. They have been successfully building their volunteer base and range of services since 2002.
  • Garrigill Village Hall Committee were unfortunately unable attend the event but were recognised for their success none the less. The committee has overseen the modernisation and refurbishment of their hall which is now an enhancement to local community life. They have creatively incorporated many activities which will sustain their Hall into the future including bunkroom and camping facilities and electric bike hire.

Lorrainne Smyth, ACT Chief Executive, said “We were pleased to have an opportunity to recognise the achievements of these groups who have made a long standing contribution to their communities. People and projects are often celebrated for new ideas, but in smaller communities actually keeping these running is also part of the challenge.

“ACTion with Communities in Cumbria has a long history and has been working with communities across the county for 68 years this year. ACT supports rural communities to: plan for their futures; develop projects, work with others, and influence and change policy.”

For more information, contact ACT on Tel: 01228 817224, Email: or visit the website:


L – R: Jolyon Dodgson (ACT President), Libby Graham (Northern Fells Group), Barbara Slack (Highlights Rural Touring Scheme), Geraldine Wilson and Caroline Holmes (Crosthwaite Exchange), Jill Hay (Fellrunner Village Bus), and Lorrainne Smyth (ACT Chief Executive).

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