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300,000 reasons to celebrate Community Health and Wellbeing Programme launch

July 26, 2012

A new and innovative health and well being programme is being launched later this month providing a £300,000 grant fund for some local communities in Eden and Allerdale.

The two year Community Health and Wellbeing programme intends to tackle health and wellbeing issues by providing grants and advice to local community groups and is funded by Cumbria County Council Adult Social Care and jointly steered with the NHS.

The aim of the programme is to help empower local communities to create activities which improve the health and wellbeing of local people. It is known that people who are active and involved in their local community are both happier and therefore healthier.

Today both Cumbria County Councillor James Airey, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, and Dr Rachel Preston, Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s lead GP for Eden, are launching the fund alongside community groups, parish councils, local councillors and other groups at the event at Cliburn Village Hall, near Penrith, and encouraging groups to come forward, learn more about the project and apply.

Cumbria Community Foundation is managing the £300,000 Community Health and Wellbeing Fund, offering grants of around £500 to £10,000 for community-led initiatives which improve the health and wellbeing of local people. The fund is open to community organisations operating in Eden District and the Civil Parishes of; Above Derwent, Bassenthwaite, Borrowdale, Keswick, St John’s Castlerigg & Wythburn, and Underskiddaw in Allerdale District.

Andy Beeforth of the Cumbria Community Foundation said: "We’re delighted to be managing the grant fund. Projects such as village exchanges, community cafes, good neighbour schemes, and informal exercise classes can make a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing."

Community groups can access advice and support to develop their projects from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT). Lorrainne Smyth, ACT Chief Executive, explained: "We work with a wide range of community led groups involved in Community Planning, Community Exchanges, village halls, environment, heritage and tourism across Cumbria.

"We will be encouraging existing and new activity in Eden District and the Keswick area, assisting communities to design, fund, and develop sustainable health and wellbeing projects. As projects develop, they should provide a good model for how health and wellbeing issues can be addressed from a community perspective."

Cllr James Airey said: "This is a really exciting programme which will dovetail with the strong community spirit across these areas.

"The health and wellbeing of people across the county is one of our key priorities and the activities that this money will fund will ensure local communities are both happier and healthier."

Dr Rachel Preston, a Penrith GP and member of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group said: "This type of fund is fantastic for helping to support and empower local community groups.

"In this part of Cumbria many people live in small rural communities and are reliant on each other for support. By offering local groups the chance to come forward for that extra bit of funding, so they can do that little bit more, we are not only helping to keep these groups going, but also ensuring that the hub of these communities can carry on helping the people around them during what is a difficult economic time.

"I know from seeing patients that those who are more actively involved and supported by local groups, tend to feel less isolated and happier and healthier as a result."

The Community Health and Wellbeing Programme is funded by Cumbria County Council Adult Social Care with support from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, and delivered by Cumbria Community Foundation and ACT. For more information about the fund, please contact Ellen Clements or David Andrews on 01900 825760 or visit: www.cumbriafoundation.org. For more information about advice and support available, please contact Julia Wilson, ACT Project Team Manager, on 01768 869524 or juliawilson@cumbriaaction.org.uk.

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For more information about the fund, please contact Ellen Clements or David Andrews on 01900 825760