We began with our roots firmly embedded in the Cumbrian fells and our heritage within that community. Community is therefore at the heart of what we do and we are very aware that we need to invest back into it. We look to work with organisations who are geographically local to us and our staff. In this way, we form lasting relationships and know that our partnerships are productive.
It’s important to us that our work with the community goes beyond monetary donations and that we work with local organisations from charities, schools and businesses through to sports clubs and church groups to leave a lasting impact. This might take the form of a partner charity, collections, donations of food hampers, business coaching and mentoring or some practical hands-on help, for example, reading with local, primary school children.
Westmorland Community Fund
In 2010 we created the Westmorland Community Fund. It enables colleagues to apply for grants ranging from £100 to £5,000 to help fund all or part of a community project.
Very importantly, the fund is colleague led. This Community Working Group made up of employees from each business, meets on a regular basis to discuss community and fundraising activities, and is responsible for approving Community Fund grants. Cumbria Community Foundation help us to administer the fund and ensure a range of projects receive support.
Here are just some of the projects we've supported:
Friends of Orton School
Our first grant of £1500 was given to Friends of Orton School in April to extend the existing play area at the front of the school, which is underused, making it an 'all weather' area of decking and a play house. All the children at the school, plus other local groups including the playgroup and after school club will benefit from the grant.
"The children love playing in and around the new playhouse. It has also been used by the children to organise their own meetings – the football players met there to discuss how to make football better at playtimes. The younger and older children play together in imaginative play.” Orton School
A grant of £1500 was awarded to Charlotte Iniff, a member of our Offer team, who is a trained First Responder for Orton and Tebay. The grant enabled her to buy a much needed mobile defibrillator, helping her to respond to emergency calls and provide support and treatment until an ambulance arrives; which can be vital in saving someone's life in such a rural area.
Other smaller grants include -
- Kirkby Stephen YOMP
- Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Tebay Methodists Circuit Activity Weekend
- Eden Arts Flock project
- Tebay Fireworks
- Tebay Soccer School
Every five years, we choose a long-term charity partner. We find this means we can really make a difference, and in 2012 we started a new five year partnership with The Calvert Trust.
The Calvert Trust is based near Keswick and enables people with disabilities, together with their families and friends, to achieve their potential through the challenge of outdoor adventure in the countryside.
It’s important to us that we support them not only by raising money but also by giving of our time to help with specific projects.
Our previous charity partner was Eden Valley Hospice. In 2011 we celebrated the end a fruitful relationship which saw Westmorland staff and customers raise over £60,000 for this worthy organisation.