CSEP Back in Business !

Dear CSEP Member

I hope that you are all keeping well!

It has taken quite a while, but I am very pleased to be able to announce that following a competitive tender process, Cumbria County Council have awarded a contract to Cybermoor Services of Alston to manage a new Social Enterprise Support and Networking programme, under the umbrella of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership.

Cybermoor will deliver the contract with the support of a consortium of experienced social enterprise business advisors.  The programme, which has been carefully aligned to Cumbria County Council’s aims and objectives, will provide business support, as well as networking activities to help further develop the social enterprise sector in Cumbria and will include the following:

  • business start-up advice (including intensive support for any social enterprises wishing to take over,, or support the delivery of local Cumbria County Council services)
  • one-to-one support advice as a core aspect to developing social enterprise businesses
  • post-start assistance to improve performance, sustainability, create additional employment and promote economic growth
  • assistance to develop funding, marketing and trading plans
  • workshops, seminars, networking meetings, including the CSEP AGM and annual conference and awards

Cumbria County Council has provided long term support for the sector for a number of years and this programme will focus on supporting the Council’s vision and priorities as outlined in the Council’s 2016-19 Plan.  An initial meeting has taken place with the six CCC Area Managers, with some positive outcomes already being generated via the Area Support teams.   Cybermoor will also be working with the Area Support Offices to organise a series of district networking meetings.

The first networking event on the topic of Community Assets has been organised in partnership with Locality on Tuesday, 28th February at the Market Hall, Wigton (see agenda attached with a link for booking).

As part of Cumbria County Council’s structural reorganisation the post of CESP Manager ceased to exist in the spring of last year, but I have continued to work very closely, on a voluntary basis, with Martin Allman CCC’s Economic Programme Manager on all aspects of this new Social Enterprise support programme. The new contract also includes support to manage the Partnership’s website and members’ communications.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CSEP membership for their patience during the period between the end of the last CSEP support programmes and the start of this new programme (which include the facilities to communicate with our membership), and I would also like to thank Cumbria County Council for their valued ongoing support to the Cumbrian Social Enterprise sector.

Anyone wanting more information about the programme and how to apply for business support, should email enquiries@secumbria.org or telephone 01434 382808.

Kind regards
Rob Randell
CSEP Chair

Community Assets Event – Warts & All

Organised in partnership with Locality, a network event showcasing learning from across Cumbria and beyond.

It’s not always easy, but it’s vital.  Find out how communities are running buildings, managing spaces and delivering services themselves and learn about available support.


Tuesday 28th February from 10.30am – 3.30pm

The Market Hall, Wigton, Cumbria


Cumbria Third Sector Network – Election of Independent Chair

cumbria_3sn_piechartThe Cumbria Third Sector Network brings together community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises from across Cumbria, providing a structure to engage with local public sector leaders and giving the sector a voice in the planning of local services.

The network is looking for a Chair to take on the challenge of providing coordinated leadership for the broad range of individuals and organisations within Cumbria’s Third Sector, advocating and influencing on behalf of the sector across a range of strategic partnerships including the Cumbria Leadership Board. This opportunity comes at an exciting time for the sector, with the prospect of a devolution of power to Cumbria, and onwards to local communities.

This role provides an exciting opportunity for an individual who wants to make a difference to Cumbria. It is primarily a voluntary position, although reasonable expenses will be reimbursed and there is a small (£2,750 pa) honorarium available. It is anticipated it will involve a day of a week of activity and is a 5 year appointment.

CLICK HERE for more information on the network and to download the relevant documents, including the Job Role and an Application Form.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 30 March 2016.

Survey on Future Support Needs for Social Enterprises



The Partnership has managed two support programmes over the past 2/3 years, both of which are shortly coming to an end.  These programmes have provided support to help setup new social enterprises, provided expert business advice to existing social enterprises to help the businesses grow and develop new services, as well as funding a number of networking events, including our annual conference and awards ceremony.

Your feedback and input is vital in helping us determine what support activities we should look to provide in future programmes.

If you could spare a few minutes to answer this short survey, it would be much appreciated.


Knowledge Exchange Visit to Liverpool – 24/25th September

the_brinkThe Partnership has been working with Social Enterprise Network, our equivalent organisation in Liverpool to pull together a knowledge exchange visit to some of the city’s thriving social enterprises. The visit will be a great opportunity to talk to individuals involved in some of Liverpool’s most inspiring social enterprises – sharing learning, experiences and ideas over a packed two days.

The visit has been organised to coincide with the monthly ‘Liverpool SOUP’ where entrepreneurs pitch to the audience; a combination of networking and crowd funding -and also includes visits to a range of social enterprises operating in retail, social care, health and wellbeing and the creative and digital sector as well as the opportunity to talk to those influencing the direction of social enterprise in the area.  See full itinerary for more detailed information about the visit

In addition to this, delegates will take part in reflective and feedback sessions during the visit and afterwards in Cumbria. These sessions will be designed to ensure the attendees get the most from their visit and to identify priorities for the sector in Cumbria.

The visit will take place on Thursday and Friday, 24th/25th September and includes accommodation and all meals. The visit will be facilitated by Social Enterprise Network and is subsidised by Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership enabling costs to be kept to a minimum.

We are asking for a voluntary contribution of £100 per person. We think this is really good value considering the number of organisations and opportunities available over the visit, but if this is a barrier to you being able to attend, please get in touch to discuss.

As places are limited, an early response is recommended and we would be grateful if you could confirm your interest to Sue Gilbertson, sue.gilbertson@cybermoor.org.uk by Monday, 14th September.


The beating heart of a village … Nenthead Community Shop

Nenthead Community Shop & Post Office, situated in the very far north eastern corner of Cumbria has been going strong since 2007 when it was established by a determined group of villagers who refused to go without their vital village hub when the old village shop and Post Office closed down meaning villagers faced a 10 mile round trip just to buy essentials like milk and newspapers..

Rallying together villagers managed to raise nearly £10,000 towards opening a shop in new premises through a community share offer, with over 100 members buying shares. This money along with grant funding and a small loan allowed them to set up a community owned co-operative shop and post office.

Peter Davidson chair of the directors of the community shop, like many other villagers he felt the loss of the shop during this period.“It was not so much that you could not buy your local paper but more that you did not know what was going on the village you didn’t see anybody if you were not involved in something else in the village. I think that is what people missed most when the old shop closed was not bumping into people and finding out what was happening.”

Listen to what some of the villagers have to say about their community shop …