What We Do
ACT works on a diverse range of projects often in partnership with public sector and other third sector organisations. Follow the links below to find out more about particular projects and areas of work we're involved with.
Community Buildings, Village Halls and other assets owned by the community are at the very heart of villages and neighbourhoods. ACT supports the volunteers who manage these facilities through the Community Buildings Service and the Community Buildings Directory.
We are now working on the Big Lottery funded Rebuilding Together project. As part of the Rebuilding Together programme ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is supporting communities across the county with Community Emergency Planning and resilience activities, to help them prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency.
Community Led Planning, Neighbourhood Planning, Emergency Planning, and Valley Planning help local people to explore their needs, set priorities, and plan actions. ACT provides support and access to a wide range of resources, including access to completed plans from across the county in the Community Plans Database.
The Cumbria Rural Panel was established following a review of the Cumbria Rural Forum, providing organisations and individuals with a place to come together and discuss issues of concern to rural life. The Panel is intended to provide a balance of interests and expertise across different sectors of our rural county to: engage in meaningful debates; identify solutions; disseminate information; and promote action.
Good Neighbours Schemes match people who can give some time with people who need some help. Lots of people help each other out already but a Good Neighbours Scheme is a way of giving casual help more structure so that: people who need help don’t feel they’re bothering their neighbours if they need to ask for help frequently; and people who don’t know each other, or who are new to the area, can be matched up to help or be helped.
Hallmark is a nationally recognised award, promoting good management and practice by Community Building Management Committees. Community Buildings with Hallmark can benefit from insurance discounts and gain recognition on funding applications as the award acts as evidence of the high standard of the committee members and the merit of the hall. There are 3 Hallmark awards covering: 'Charity administration and management'; 'Health, safety, security and licences'; and 'Community & social awareness, communications, forward planning and development'
Support for new and established groups in Cumbria, from choosing an appropriate legal structure to business planning, fundraising, and recruiting and managing volunteers.
This Big Lottery funded project ran in partnership with Cumbria Youth Alliance and Young Cumbria between 2009 and 2013. The purpose was to strengthen the specialist infrastrucutre services that the partners provide to the voluntary and community sector organisations supporting children and young people and rural communities throughout Cumbria.
The Big Society is the Government's vision of a society where individuals and communities have more power and responsibility, and use it to create better neighbourhoods and local services. Three groups of communities in the Eden Valley were included as a rural pilot in the Big Society Vanguard programme in 2010. ACT observed and recorded the work of local residents, producing a range of written resources and full report of the findings.
ACT coordinated the Cumbria Calor Village of the Year competition between xxxx and xxxx. The competition recognised and celebrated vibrant, enterprising, and caring communities making the most of local opportunities in Cumbria. County competition winners went on to have further success at regional and national level.
ACT encouraged volunteer Energy Champions to pilot a new Community Energy Champions Toolkit in their communities and develop plans for community-led solutions to Fuel Poverty.
Providing advice, support and grants for community-led health and wellbeing projects.
Energy Best Deal is a national campaign run by Citizens Advice providing information and advice to support those finding it difficult to deal with high energy bills. ACT delivered Energy Best Deal workshops to community groups and front line staff / volunteers in Cumbria between 2011 and 2012.
Fresh Start was a 2 year project, ending in March 2015, which encouraged groups of women around the county to plan for the future and develop ideas. The Fresh Start workbook and events helped them to: think about their skills and achievements; help them to set some goals; and decide on their next steps.
FREE was a 3 year rural energy advice programme, aimed at communities off mains gas, across England. The programme aimed to bring practical independent advice and information regarding fuel choices, energy efficient technologies, and carbon reduction measures, helping to reduce households’ energy consumption and fuel costs. In Cumbria, FREE was delivered by ACT in partnership with NEA (National Energy Action).
The Hill Farming Systems project was developed by the Cumbria Fells and Dales LEADER + Programme in partnership with ACT, in response to concerns about the future of hill farming. The aim of the project was to investigate the environmental, economic and social value of hill farming systems in Cumbria. This project ran between 2006 and 2008, please note the website is no longer being updated.
This programme was last run between 2008 and 2010 in the market towns of Alston, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen. The aim was to support retailers in facing the challenge of: reduced customer numbers; supermarket competition; rising operating expenses; improving their viability and long term sustainability.
The Rural Women’s Network was established to help women in Cumbria realise their full potential through business support and the development of personal and workplace skills.
Free business support for new and recently formed social enterprises in Cumbria, including village halls.
This three year project was coordinated by ACT, working with the communities of Tebay and Orton between 2010 and 2013 to provide training, events, and raise awareness of, and pride in, cultural and environmental heritage.
Village hall volunteers joined ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) on Saturday to congratulate Thursby Parish Hall on becoming the first hall in Cumbria to receive a Hallmark Two award for good management, health, safety, security and licenses.
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.
ACTion with communities in Cumbria has been working with participants from seven village halls to design a Managing Risks Toolkit for the 300 plus halls across Cumbria.
The project aims to assist village halls to deal with the challenges of extreme weather events and other risks such as loss of income, issues within committees and other situations. It is funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund and was awarded after Storm Desmond when a number of halls in Carlisle, South Lakeland and Allerdale were flooded.
ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is supporting community resilience and emergency planning activities across Cumbria, as part of a 3 year BIG Lottery funded programme. This includes helping people to get together to share their experiences, think about future risks and what they might do to be better prepared.
ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is 70 in October and using this milestone as an opportunity to celebrate the organisation’s past and also look to the future.
ACT’s Chief Executive Lorrainne Smyth says “We’ve changed our name several times in those 70 years, settling on ACTion with Communities in Cumbria back in 2008, but it is striking how little our aims, priorities and ways of working have changed since the beginning. We still rely on a core group of committed people as our staff and our Trustees and it’s still about making a difference by championing rural issues and working with communities.”
Village Halls around the country have been celebrating the first national Village Halls Week between 22nd and 26th January. Here at ACT we’d like to say a huge thank you for all the work you do in your communities and to share a few of the highlights in Cumbria and around the country.
Registered in England as Voluntary Action Cumbria. Charity Number: 1080875
Company Number: 3957858
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