As the world celebrates 'International Day of Charity', we salute the achievements of countless admirable charities carrying out wonderful work across the Lake District and Cumbria. Hundreds of volunteers work tirelessly to raise funds, promote their causes and deliver exceptional projects in the Lake District and Cumbria. We think each one of them deserves a pat on the back - see why for yourself!
The Lake District Foundation
Formally known as Nurture Lakeland, the Lake District Foundation (LDF) became a registered charity in August 2017. Building on the rich heritage, landscape and wildlife of Cumbria, the charity strives to create a county with a prosperous economy and vibrant communities. It is instrumental in encouraging sustainable development and is inspirational in its aim for delivering world-class visitor experiences. In addition to delivering joint initiatives with partners such as Lake District National Park and Cumbria Tourism, the LDF Fund supports a diverse range of projects that complement the charity's objectives. Over the years, the fund has enabled many young people to benefit from the John Muir award, which encourages people of all backgrounds to engage with, care for and enjoy wild places. It has also supported nest protection works and the development of education facilities for the phenomenally successful Osprey Project at Bassenthwaite. And, most recently, it has funded the protection and maintenance of the footpaths and surrounding environment of the Ullswater Way circular walk.
The Lions and Rotary Clubs of Cumbria
Cumbria is fortunate to have a plethora of active and energetic Lions and Rotary Clubs across the county. Each work tirelessly to support the communities they serve, as well as promoting a whole host of global campaigns. From delivering engaging events that bring locals and visitors together like a fell-top cafe on Latrigg and annual beer festivals, to fundraising for local causes and charities, The Lions and Rotary Clubs are the beating heart of many of Cumbria's towns and village. Their hardworking members support local projects and events by generously volunteering their time, and their projects and fundraising initiatives can be life-changing. The Lions' Young Leaders project encourages and rewards local student to get involved in their community by offering their time to someone who needs it most. The Rotary Foundation allows Clubs across Cumbria to carry out their humanitarian activities, supporting people and communities in need. What is lovely about each Lions and Rotary Club across the County, is the genuinely passionate people who drive the tremendously valuable work they do.
Lake District Mobility
The wonderful team at Lake District Mobility are committed to ensuring families and friends can enjoy the Lake District's impressive landscape together, regardless of mobility challenges. This non-profit charity offers all-terrain vehicles for hire at multiple locations, including Whinlatter Forest and Langdale. Their supportive staff provide the training needed for individuals to use the vehicles with confidence, and the temporary and annual membership options offer flexibility for visitors and residents alike. Lake District Mobility is an advocate for providing accessibility for all across the region. The charity shares its wealth of knowledge with attractions and visitor-facing businesses through presentations and accessibility assessments, deepening understanding and encouraging essential change. Since becoming a charity in 2017, founder Julie Walker has not stopped developing the offer, and she is always looking for new hire sites to become a partner.
Take a look at our accessible holiday cottages.
Fix the Fells
Fix the Fells is a local National Trust Registered Charity dedicated to maintaining and repairing the Lake District's mountain paths. With funding from donations and partners, the team of rangers and volunteers work year-round to reduce erosion and restore the archaeological heritage and ecology of our incredible landscape. With the national park as popular as ever with walkers and the constant stress imposed by the weather and the gradient, the Fix the Fells projects play a vital role in protecting our precious region. In addition to fundraising for the essential works, the charity host volunteer days, promote awareness campaigns and educate individuals and groups to enable them to consider the impact of their mountain use. Fix the Fells currently has an ambitious fundraising campaign to support essential works needed to repair the significant erosion problems on Scafell Pike. The demands on the fell side are so great that repair work on the western face alone will require a staggering £750,000 over the next eight years!
Cumbria Community Foundation
The charity's strapline "Connecting people that care with causes that matter" sums it up perfectly. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Cumbria Community Foundation is at the heart of the community. Through fundraising and grant-making work, it has benefitted the lives of so many disadvantaged people in Cumbria since its inception in 1999. Fundholders can be any organisation or individual that wants to give something back. The charity's principal aims are to improve the lives and opportunities of disadvantaged people, help vulnerable older people, improve health and wellbeing across the county, strengthen fragile communities and enable everyone to access sports, arts, culture and the environment. For its 20th anniversary year, the Foundation is encouraging everyone to get involved by taking part in their own challenge to raise money. In January, the team kickstarted the campaign by braving Windermere Lake without wetsuits - brrrrrr! Look out for other charity events and challenges taking place across the county.
Jack's Journey was set up in 2016 when the young son of founders Andrew and Sam fell ill and was diagnosed with cancer. After receiving incredible support from a huge range of people and being inspired by other parents and ill children, Andrew and Sam wanted to do their part to help and so the charity was born. They now provide financial support to two Cumbrian families every month to help ease the burden of the average £600 per month that it costs for treatment of childhood cancer.
In July 2018, thanks to the support of volunteers and donor, Jack's Journey was able to purchase a holiday home at Lowther Holiday Park where families getting treatment for a child can go to enjoy a short respite on the border of the Lake District.
Set up by 16-year-old Amy Bray in January 2019, Another Way encourages both small and big changes to our way of living in order to help protect the natural environment.
After encouraging her parents to go plastic-free and live more sustainably, Amy wanted to reach more people and to spread knowledge and inspiration. Her impressive list of achievements includes regular educational talks in schools, organising a London march, becoming a founding member of the Lake District Foundation youth panel, establishing the Another Way charity, and advising local businesses on how they can lower plastic use.
Amy and the charity are based at Another Weigh, a zero-waste shop in Penrith where you can bring your own containers to fill with a number of products including grains, cleaning products, tea, coffee, fruit and herbs. You can also learn more about reducing waste and living more sustainably thanks to their education centre!
Why not browse our holiday cottages near Penrith and pop into Another Weigh for your holiday groceries!
When Prime Minister Harold MacMillan said that the UK's National Parks are "for all people for all time", a Cumbrian local, John Fryer-Spedding, realised that wasn't entirely true. He set up the Calvert Trust to help disabled children and adults enjoy the stunning landscape and, 40 years later, they continue to provide challenging outdoor adventure activities. With courses for individuals, families, and schools, the Calvert Trust is a local stalwart that truly makes sure everyone can enjoy the beauty and adventure of the Lake District!
You can hardly mention charities in the Lake District without mentioning the National Trust!
After moving to the Lake District from Oxfordshire, in 1884, Canon Hardwicke Rownsley co-founded the National Trust with Octavia Hill and Sir Robert Hunter in order to protect the landscape and special buildings across England and Wales (and later Scotland). Now, 120 years later, it is one of the largest charities in the country and is a vital part of the preservation of our history and landscape.
The first Lake District property obtained by the trust was Brandelhow on the west shore of Derwentwater, with Great Gable following 20 years later. Another Lake District legend, Beatrix Potter, offered her support in 1929 by donating income from her famous children's books. Upon her death, she also left many of her properties, land, and her famous Herdwick sheep to the trust in order to preserve them for posterity.
Nowadays, you will see the National Trust's work wherever you step in the Lake District! Whether it's Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston, Aira Force waterfall near Ullswater, or Buttermere lake, the National Trust provides support in all corners of the national park.
We hope this offers some inspiration and insight to some of the incredible work going on behind the scenes in Cumbria and the Lake District. Next time you stay at one of our Lake District holiday cottages, why not head to a fun event that helps raise funds, or even just pop a few spare pennies in a charity box? Every little helps!
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