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.
ACT is hosting the Community Led Housing Hub for Cumbria and Lancaster, providing support and access to technical expertise for groups developing new affordable homes for their communities.
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'
People being 'neighbourly' has been and continues to be a core part of the community work ACT supports across Cumbria. Neighbourliness Works was launched at ACT's 70th AGM to capitalise on this and promote it as a specific initiative.
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.
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.
Registered in England as Voluntary Action Cumbria. Charity Number: 1080875
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