Community fund awards £35,000 to help alleviate poverty in South Lakeland

Last Updated: 17 November 2022

Projects aimed at alleviating poverty and hardship have benefited from a total of £35,000 from South Lakeland District Council's Fairer South Lakeland fund.

Launched in June, the initial fund of £25,000 was aimed at town and parish councils, community and voluntary groups and local charities for funds for both established projects and new initiatives which tackled poverty.

Nine applications were successful, with organisations in all corners of South Lakeland sharing £35,000 after the fund was increased to reflect the strength of the projects.

They were:

  • Kirkby Lonsdale Community Cupboard – £2,637 towards providing a supervised environment for job applications, benefit claims and signpost those that need it to other dedicated and professional assistance at the already operational Community Lunches, tailored to older and vulnerable residents, and the newly-established and operational Community Café.
  • Coniston Parish Council – £500 to establish a community fridge to be based in St Andrew's Church to provide free food to people under severe financial pressure, while also reducing food waste.
  • Simply Repair South Lakes – £1,800 to support a Resilience through Repair and Reuse for the community in the Hallgarth area of Kendal, in association with Hallgarth Residents Association. This will be a pilot programme to discover how a community repair/reuse project could best support the short and long-term needs of some of enabling individuals and households to save money and reducing waste to landfill by repairing, reusing and sharing; bringing people together to learn repair skills and share skills between generations.
  • Burneside Parish Council/Burneside Residents' Association – £5,000 towards meeting the increased demand for the Burneside Food Help project.
  • Brathay Trust – £4,000 towards the ‘Youth Matters’ project (Kendal) partnership initiative, which makes sure young people in Kendal have access to the kind of youth provision they want and need.
  • Manna House – £6,063 towards holding employment and benefits advice sessions for up to 100 clients to increase job skills and workplace confidence.
  • Springfield domestic abuse support – £7,000 towards the Springfield Tackling Poverty project to provide structured specialist advice and information in key areas such as household finances, benefits, debts, household essentials, medical/personal costs and family essentials to between 100 and 150 clients - many of whom have left an abusive relationship and find themselves coping in very difficult circumstances, often with sole responsibility for their children, with very little or no financial support - over the next 15 months, as well as developing a Poverty Champions Network to work together, make supported referrals and identify any gaps in local provision.
  • Grange Over Sands Community Foodshare – £5,000 towards the foodshare project, which uses surplus food to feed local people in need, focussing on families and elderly people and developing financial resilience in young people.
  • Milnthorpe Family Centre – £3,000 towards supporting through school referrals up to 16 children and families that will benefit from subsidised childcare during school holidays, giving opportunities for parents to continue to work and also ensuring a safe place for children to play, learn and socialise.

Councillor Suzie Pye, SLDC's Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation, said: "In evaluating the many applications we received for the Fairer South Lakeland fund, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of often unheralded work already going on in our communities to try to make things a little easier for people who find themselves struggling financially.

"With the cost of living at a 30-year high and factors such as the unprecedented rise in energy bills and the high cost of basic food items hitting hard, families who are already struggling may now have to choose between eating and heating during the colder months.

"These projects and schemes are necessary and of enormous benefit in our communities. Two of SLDC's priorities are delivering a balanced community and reducing income and health inequalities and I am proud that we have been able to provide this support at this time."

Case study, Manna House

SLDC's award will support Manna House’s Employment & Benefits advice sessions, after which people will be on the right benefits for them;  they will report feeling more workplace ready and/or feel more confident to engage in job searching. 

Angela Powis is the Manna House Employment & Benefits Advisor. She has a master’s degree in advice and guidance and has been employed at Manna House since 2013. Our experience shows that relationships are the most effective way to motivate and engage people with change. Angela is renowned for her gentle, clear and firm approach and her 1-1 sessions are expert. She will be working with what clients present to her, listening out for the undisclosed issues and addressing these, as well.

Andrea Aldridge, Manna House Chief Officer, said: “The clients of Manna House are among the most vulnerable in South Lakeland. As the cost of living crisis becomes clearer, our clients are obviously hardest hit. The right benefits for the right person has never been more important, nor has it ever been so timely to increase job skills and workplace confidence. We are grateful for this injection of funding to support our work.”