The Right Structure for You ?

The Partnership is running free workshops in conjunction with Cumbria CVS to explore different legal and governance structures. The workshops will provide an opportunity to clarify and explore different governance structures including community interest companies, charitable incorporated organisations charities, charitable companies and companies limited by guarantee – to help you decide which structure is right for you and perhaps whether your current structure is still fit for purpose.

For example, it is becoming clear that many community groups do not currently have a legal structure that protects trustees and limits their personal liability, which often makes it difficult to recruit new trustees.

The workshop is suitable both for social enterprises and community organisations and for those just starting out to organisations that have been operating for many years, and also for anyone contemplating setting up a new community or social enterprise.

The training is for third sector organisations only and is FREE* through Cumbria County Council’s Social Enterprise Networking programme.

There are two workshops being held, one in the south and one in the north:

Thursday 10 May 2018 ***WORKSHOP ALREADY HELD ***
2.30pm – 4.30pm or 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Stricklandgate House, Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4PU

Thursday 24 May 2018
2.30pm – 4.30pm or 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Penrith Methodist Church, 10 Wordsworth St, Penrith CA11 7QW

Book online:

* Cancellation policy applies.

2018 Award Ceremony … and the winners are …

The 2018 Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Awards & Annual Networking event took place on Thursday, 8th March in Whitehaven at the newly refurbished Rosehill Theatre. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Empowering Communities through Enterprise’ and the speakers and award winners this year certainly showcased some of the amazing and inspirational social enterprise organisations operating throughout the county and in particular in the west of the county.

Rob Randell, Chair of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership said “This year’s event was the “best ever” according to the feedback we received from our audience. The quality of applications for this year’s awards were exceptional, and the judges had an incredibly hard time in choosing the winners. I was very pleased to announce that Cumbria has been granted Social Enterprise County status by Social Enterprise UK, which is a tribute to Cumbria County Council’s long term and continued support of the county’s Social Enterprise sector. Coincidently Thursday, 8th March was also International Women’s Day and I was delighted to see more women than men in both the audience, and on stage making inspirational presentations and receiving awards.”

There were four categories in this year’s awards:

  • New Social Enterprise of the Year
  • Social Enterprise of the Year
  • Community Enterprise of the Year
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year

The awards for the New Social Enterprise were presented by Daniel Heery of Cybermoor Services who presented the awards to the Winners, The Happy Mums Foundation CIC and also a Highly Commended Award to iCan Health & Fitness CIC.


The Happy Mums Foundation was setup in 2015 and provides local, practical and peer-led maternity mental health services across Carlisle and North Cumbria. They also offer room hire for classes, events, meetings and therapy sessions from their studios at the Coach House Centre in Aglionby. Accepting the award on behalf of Happy Mums, Founder and Director Katherine Dalgliesh said “We were totally inspired 3 years ago when we were sitting in the audience of the Social Enterprise Awards listening to the award winners, having just setup our new social enterprise and we can’t believe that today we’re up here on stage accepting this award!”

The awards for the Social Enterprise of the Year were presented by Martin Allman, Economic Programmes Manager for Cumbria County Council. The Winners were Whitehaven Community Trust and Highly Commended were Cumbria Health on Call (CHOC).


Whitehaven Community Trust was setup 28 years ago and has recently re-opened Bakewell House as a dedicated Mother and Baby unit offering safe and secure accommodation with support to vulnerable young mothers and their babies and re-opened Lowther Street once again to meet the ever growing need for supported accommodation for difficult to place homeless teenagers within our community. Kerry Maxwell OBE, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Whitehaven Community Trust said “The event was superb and the speakers were inspirational … and it was a lovely surprise for us to win.”

The Community Enterprise category proved to be a particularly very difficult category to judge this year, and Lorrainne Smythe from Action for Communities in Cumbria presented the awards to the Winning Enterprise West House and Highly Commended to People First Independent Advocacy.


West House provides care and support in West Cumbria for adults and children with learning disabilities – at home, in the community and in the workplace. It started in Allerby in 1996 with Grow West, their community garden enterprise and this was followed by Café West in Whitehaven, Café West Workington Library, Café West Keswick and their new venture setup last year is a pottery based at Westfield in Workington, which will develop opportunities not only in creative pottery skills but also in sales, marketing and finance. It now employs 36 staff and supports 73 trainees. James Cox, Chief Executive of West House said “We are delighted that everyone at West House enterprises has won this award – they more than deserve it. The staff and trainees at our cafes, garden centre and pottery, work extremely hard and not only do they deliver great services to their customers, but also make huge personal achievements every day. The award also recognises the invaluable support we receive from members of our community – our enterprises wouldn’t exist without people buying products from our pottery and garden centre, or going to our cafes, so we want to say to our customers how thankful we are for their support in being able to offer these training opportunities.”

The winner of the individual Social Entrepreneur award was Julia Clifford from iCan Health & Fitness. The award was presented by Sue Gilbertson, who manages the social enterprise contract, but who also worked with iCan as their business adviser to setup their social enterprise, funded through CSEP’s business support programme.

iCan Health & Fitness became a Community Interest Company less than a year ago and since becoming a CIC they have increased their paying membership by 54%. They operated as a private company from very small premises in Corporation Road in the centre of Carlisle from 2007 and in October 2017 relocated to Denton Holme. In the short time that they have been in their new premises, they have transformed it from a rather rundown dilapidated space into a warm, friendly and welcoming community wellbeing centre. Accepting the award, Julia said “I am overwhelmed, honoured and incredibly humbled to be given this award. It means the world to me to be recognised after 11 years of hard work, sweat and tears and I owe that all to the Social Enterprise Partnership, who literally saved my personal career and our business at iCan.”

Julia was nominated for the award by one of iCan’s members Pauline Wright and also by Andrew Shekell, Chief Executive of the Glenmore Trust who said “If you could harness Julia’s energy and enthusiasm you could run a small town!”

A Special Award was also presented to Allison Taylor from Cumbria Gateway who died suddenly in November 2017 aged 51.

Allison setup Cumbria Gateway in 2011, providing peer-led services and 4 supported housing flats … today it employs 2 project managers, 7 support staff, 1 handy person and 25 volunteers and now has 17 supported housing units.

Bill Prudham, Allison’s partner and Tom Hurst, Chair of Cumbria Gateway accepted the award on behalf of Allison.

“Allison had the driving force of 10 people and could make the impossible, possible. She will never be forgotten and her legacy will continue and grow for many years to come.”


The audience also heard from some truly inspiration speakers from West Cumbria including the hosts at Rosehill Theatre, with the story of the theatre’s history from its opening in 1959, through to its re-opening last April by Prince Charles following its £2.7m refurbishment. The theatre is a marvellous combination of a modern and contemporary venue, but has retained the original theatre described as a ‘rose-red silk lined jewel box’.

The audience were also moved by the very personal and emotional journey of Rachel Holliday who setup Time to Change in June 2013 to tackle homelessness and poverty in West Cumbria. Her vision was to build a homeless hostel but one that would make a positive difference to the community. Calderwood House staff and residents take part in many community activities and have a close working relationship with Egremont Town Council and liaise with them to find projects and community tasks. Angela Vaughan from West House gave the audience a taste of the history and some of the many enterprises run by West House. The final speaker was Dianne Richardson, Social Impact and Communications Manager for Balfour Beatty who undoubtedly demonstrated what a difference a major private business can contribute to communities when it puts its mind and effort into it.

The speakers took part in a lively panel discussion with a Q&A session from the audience.

Introduction to Social Value Workshop

“De-mystifying Social Value”

9.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018
CREA Building, Eden Rural Enterprise Centre, Penrith, CA11 0DT

  • What is Social Value?
  • Why do we need to bother?
  • How do we start to measure our impact?
  • Other related language … what does it all mean?
  • Where to go to for guidance and support

This half day workshop will be delivered by Nicola Lynch who is experienced in the delivery and evaluation of social impact and works across all sectors to support organisations in monitoring and evaluating their work for maximum impact for their stakeholders.

Who should attend?

The event is targeted at anyone who is looking for a basic understanding of what social value is, why your organisation should be monitoring it and how to make a start at doing it.

What will I get out of it?

  • A basic understanding of what social value is and why you need to measure it for your organisation.
  • An Action Plan for ‘Starting our Social Value journey’ – what you should be collecting and how to measure, quantify and report it simply.


This event is FREE but booking is essential. To reserve your place email before Tuesday, 20th March.

Cumbria Social Enterprise Conference & Awards Ceremony

Book your placeCSEP Annual Conference & Awards

“Empowering Communities through Enterprise”

Thursday, 8th March 2018
Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven

The Partnership is delighted to be hosting this year’s Cumbria Social Enterprise awards ceremony in West Cumbria at the Rosehill Theatre in Whitehaven, which re-opened last year following a £2.7m transformation. The event will also hear from some of the many inspirational social enterprises delivering services and activities throughout West Cumbria.

Booking for this free event is now open via Eventbrite

This year’s awards have four categories:

  • Overall Best Social Enterprise
  • Best New Social Enterprise
  • Best Community Enterprise
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Entries for the awards must be received by noon on Thursday, 22 February. Full details about the awards and how to submit an entry can be found at Award Criteria and Application Form




The difference a bit of a helping hand makes …

We are delighted to report that the social enterprise business support programme has engaged with 54 social enterprise since it started just over 12 months ago.  The support programme, which is fully funded by Cumbria County Council provides 2/3 days of business support to both existing social enterprises helping them develop their business in some way and also supporting the start-up of new social enterprise businesses.

… and what better way to demonstrate the difference this targeted business support makes than hearing from some of the businesses who have benefited from the Social Enterprise Support Programme so far:

If you would like more information about the programme and to find out if you would be eligible for support, email

Work, Life, Social Enterprise – Where’s the Boundary?

Digital technologies and media such as smartphones and social networking sites can be very helpful to social entrepreneurs as they provide a low cost method of knowledge sharing, marketing and interacting with others.  But how does this affect our work-life boundaries?  Is always-on connectivity a good thing because it gives us freedom to work flexibly … or does it cause problems because we’ve developed the habit to never switch off?

We were very luck to welcome Prof Gillian Symon, Professor of Organisational Studies at Royal Holloway University London to Kendal on 2nd November, who facilitated a workshop looking at Work/Life Boundaries for social entrepreneurs, exploring potential ideas and solutions to get the balance right and the need for ‘sane engagement with technology’!

If you were’t able to attend the workshop, you might be interested to read an overview report Work, Life, Social Enterprise – Where’s the Boundary? undertaken for Digital Brain Switch, which looks at the paradox of social entrepreneur’s passion for their work – which encourages a holistic lifestyle, but at the same time can create feelings of overload and particularly the part digital technologies play in this Work/Life balance.

Should social entrepreneurs set boundaries?

What kind of boundaries matter?


“How I started my Social Enterprise “… stories from Cumbria Webinar

Hear real stories of what it was like setting up a social enterprise in Cumbria from people who have been there and got the T-shirt!  The speakers are from both new and old social enterprises around the County and they all have their unique perspectives.


The webinar took place on 29th September, but if you missed it, you can catch it on YouTube


Hear from the following:

  • Daniel Heery (Chair) set up Cybermoor delivering digital services in Cumbria and pioneering broadband for remote rural areas across the country.
  • Rachel Holliday set up Time to Change (West Cumbria) creating a new innovative solution to homelessness and unemployment in West Cumbria.
  • Julia Clifford set up iCan Health & Fitness CIC aimed particularly at supporting people who may have a barrier to participating in exercise.
  • Katherine Rutherford set up Happy Mums Foundation CIC supporting women who may experience maternal mental health problems.
  • Question and Answer Session (All Panellists)
  • Closing Comments and next webinar

For more information e-mail or call 01434 382 808. Follow us on twitter @secumbria

CSEP Members Networking Event & AGM

Tuesday, 26th September at 10.00am-1.30pm

Harraby Community Campus, CA1 3SN

We hope you can join us for our AGM and Networking Event where we’ll be bringing you up to date on what’s been happening over the past year, what plans we have in place for the future and hearing from some of the great community led solutions being delivered in Carlisle.

The event is free to attend, but as lunch is included in the event, booking is requested.  CLICK here to book online or email enquiries@secumbria.orgDownload_agenda_button

The Partnership is a members’ organisation managed by a Steering Group made up of a cross section of representatives from within the sector. If this is a role you would be interested in looking into, we would love to hear from you.

Intro to Social Enterprise Webinar

If you missed our webinar on 19th July, then catch up in your own time.


What the webinar covered?

  • Find out what social enterprises are.
  • What types of social enterprises are operating in the County.
  • Get a better idea about how social enterprises can support your communities, assets and services.
  • Finding further support to take your ideas further.

You can also download a copy of the presentation from the day



Do you want to grow your social enterprise?

If the answer is “YES”, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership (CSEP) can help you.

The Partnership has delivered a Business Support Programme for the past 10 years and is pleased to announce that a new programme of support is available funded by Cumbria County Council.

The programme funds up to 2 days specialist consultancy support for existing Cumbrian social enterprises who would like to grow their business.

The aim of the programme is to help improve performance, sustainability, create additional employment and promote economic growth within the social enterprise sector.

The advice and support available can be tailored to suit your organisation’s own particular needs, but for example, could be to help with:

  • Business planning
  • Finance and funding
  • Sustainability planning
  • Marketing
  • Procurement
  • Product development and diversification

A simple application form needs to be completed, but a decision on eligibility will be provided quickly.

The programme is being delivered by Cybermoor Ltd with other delivery partners on behalf of CSEP.

Contact us now by email to or telephone 01434 382808 to find out more about the programme and if it could help you.