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Funds for drumming, gardening and climbing in Cumberland 

Workington Together Community Panel provides funding for local groups including new community garden and performance space, and a climbing wall, to aid wider ambitions on health and well-being. 

How does a local authority support communities to help themselves? Cumberland Council has been pioneering a method through eight community panels that offer direct funding and other support to grass-roots projects.

black Planet drum kit near trees during sunset

Photo by Ingridi Alves Photography

Each panel comprises ward councillors from that area and meets four times a year to make decisions on the needs of the local community and the funding that can be directed. Residents, businesses and other local partners feed into the process. 

In December, members of the Workington Together Community Panel agreed three priorities to guide its decisions, following consultation with people in the region. Those priorities are empowering children and young people, supporting communities to help themselves and reducing food poverty. 

Now the Workington panel has awarded funds to a range of activities in the area. This includes £3,050 for St Mary’s Church in Westfield, which will go towards building a community garden and performance area for drumming. 

The garden is already an accessible and welcoming space for residents but will now be developed to encourage people to grow and cook their own healthy food. The hope is involve local schools in gardening schemes, too, all as part of Cumberland Council’s wider ambitions to improve access to healthy food.  

The community garden can also be used as a space to practice and perform drumming, with some of the funding going towards buying a drumkit. Drumming can be used in social care, with evidence showing that it can improve mental health and help those suffering from trauma. 

In addition, the community panel has awarded £5,000 to Seaton Scout Group for a climbing wall that will be made available to the whole community. The aim is to create a new, challenging activity as part of efforts to help tackle antisocial behaviour, inactivity, and social isolation. Again, that aligns with Cumberland Council’s wider ambitions to improve the health and well-being of residents. 

Cllr Jimmy Grisedale, Chair of the Workington Together Community Panel, says: ‘It is great to see the panel able to continue with its investments in the community. These two schemes will provide real benefits to people in Workington and I look forward to seeing the projects reach fruition and thrive in the future. I’d also like to encourage anyone else with a community-led idea which needs investment, to get in touch and see if we can help.’  

Cllr Lisa Brown, Statutory Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Adults and Community Health, adds: ‘These two projects are very much what the Community Panels and Cumberland Council is about. By providing a space to get outside – whether to learn to grow food, or scale a challenging climbing wall – we not only improve the physical and mental well-being of local residents, but build stronger community networks.’ 

As well as Workington Together, Cumberland Council’s other community panels are: Border, Fellside and North Carlisle; Carlisle West; Fells and Solway; Lakes to Sea; Petteril; South Cumberland; and Whitehaven and Coastal. 

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