Issued 26 September 2018
ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is 70 in October and has used the publication of its Annual Review of 2017-2018 as an opportunity to celebrate the success of its approach of working with communities to make change happen across rural Cumbria.
“It’s always a balance,” says Lorrainne Smyth, ACT’s CEO, “as we want to show what’s being achieved while making it clear that our team is simply enabling and supporting the people and the projects that are already addressing local needs. That’s been our way of working for our first 70 years and we know from all that experience that it’s the best way of making change sustainable.”
The Annual Review includes an introduction from Joanna Tate, ACT’s new Chair of Trustees. “It’s been a challenging year,” says Joanna, “with the changing nature of funding and the increasing needs in Cumbria’s rural communities but a review of ACT’s 70 years of history shows that it has always been thus. We’re all about supporting communities at grass roots, bringing people together to find solutions. ACT has also strengthened the collective voice from our communities, making sure that a rural perspective is heard in local and national government.”
Projects included in the report range from enabling local contributions to The BIG Lottery’s rural stakeholders review to bringing together the Eden community-run swimming pool teams, from answering almost 200 queries on the Community Buildings Service to supporting residents in creating the Flimby Flood Action Group.
“We have Development Officers working across Cumbria,” says Lorrainne, “and we’ve tried to feature projects and support from every corner of the county.”
That spread will be a continued focus in the coming year and beyond, as ACT seeks to support communities in tackling rural housing problems and also the issues arising from loneliness and isolation.
“These are important problems that crop up consistently and in so many places,” says Lorrainne, “and we know that there are communities across Cumbria with ideas who are keen to improve things. We’ve already made a start on funding bids and bringing these people together and we’re looking forward to supporting all sorts of projects in community-led housing and neighbourliness in the year ahead.”
Those themes will be explored from a national and a local perspective at ACT’s AGM on Friday 19 October at Braithwaite Village Hall near Keswick. This is open anyone who is interested in ACT’s work and will include speakers from Public Health England, the UK’s Loneliness Foundation and Neighbourhood Watch as well as local MPs and existing community projects.
“The Annual Review may look back over the past year,” says Lorrainne, “but the AGM is very much about looking forward and doing what ACT does best – bringing people together to plan for the future, develop relevant local projects and, working together, to influence and change policy. As we move into our eighth decade, we will be championing community and rural issues as we always have.”
If you are interested in becoming a supporter of ACTion with Communities in Cumbria or attending the AGM or getting involved in its work, contact ACT on 01228 817224 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media.
Photo: Lorrainne Smyth and Joanna Tate (centre) with other Trustees of ACTion with Communities in Cumbria.
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