£5m of funding available for rural businesses and communities in Cumbria

Applications for LEADER grants are invited from rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers, landowners, tourism providers as well as voluntary and charitable organisations.
Capital funding is available to support a wide range of activities including:

  • New farm technologies to improve profitability and sustainability.
  • Micro and small rural businesses, including community and social enterprises, to start up and grow and to provide improvements in productivity and efficiency.
  • Farm diversifications including adding value to farm produce and diversification into non-farming activity.
  • Small scale tourism projects, such as new and existing visitor attractions, accommodation and activities.
  • Enterprising community projects such as multi use space hubs for key services, innovative technologies and products, small scale community infrastructure projects.
  • Forestry investments in new machinery and equipment and to add value to forestry products.
  • Culture and heritage projects including restoration and conservation of buildings, enhancement of cultural activities etc.

Priority will be given to projects that create jobs, help your business to grow, and which benefit the wider rural economy.
The LEADER programme funding is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), and is being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Union (EU) through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The funding is administered by the Cumbria Fells & Dales, and Solway, Border and Eden Local Action Groups (LAGs) with Cumbria County Council acting as the Accountable Body.
Fells and Dales Local Action Group joint chairs, John Turner of Lonsdale Estates and Steve Ratcliffe of the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “The LEADER programmes continue to support the county’s rural areas in ways which respect both its distinctiveness and diversity, and they help build stronger, more resilient rural communities.”

Solway, Border and Eden Local Action Group joint chairs Brian Armstrong, a local farmer who also represents The Farmer Network and Rob Randell, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Chair, said: “We are looking for innovative ideas and projects which will be a springboard for job creation and economic growth.”

To find out if your project is eligible for funding, how to apply and examples of previously funded projects please visit the LAG websites:  www.sbeleader.org.uk and www.fellsanddales.org.uk.

Notes to Editors:

LEADER is a well-established method of providing European Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding at the local level. LEADER is a (French) acronym which roughly translates as ‘Links between the rural economy and development actions’.
The Solway, Border & Eden (SBE) area covers a large area of northern Cumbria, comprising the predominantly lowland areas of the West Cumbria and Solway coastal plain and parts of the Eden Valley, extending to the more sparsely populated North Pennines uplands in the east. The Cumbria Fells and Dales area (CFD) will correspond to both of the National Parks, plus the remainder of South Lakeland District (including rural actions based in Kendal), Upper Eden, and Penrith and beyond and the Millom peninsula.
During the previous EU programming round (2007-2013), Solway, Border and Eden and Cumbria Fells and Dales Local Action Groups (LAGs) delivered RDPE funding in Cumbria with a total grant budget of £15 million. Grants were awarded to farms, foresters, small businesses and rural communities across the LAG areas. Combined with match-funding the programmes facilitated a total investment of more than £30 million. The investment supported over 350 projects, created 321 jobs and safeguarded 112 jobs. It also delivered 15,000 training days to 12,627 beneficiaries.
Contact details for LEADER Programmes:
Tel: 01900 706000 – Cumbria County Council Economic Programmes Office

La'al Ratty

Lake District’s newest attraction to open this Summer

In June 2017, the Ravenglass Railway Museum will officially open to the public after undergoing a major, two year, Heritage Lottery-funded redevelopment.

Built on the site of Ravenglass Station, in the West of Cumbria, the new train-shed extension will double the previous museum’s footprint and create a brand-new museum experience.

The museum owns more than 6,000 objects ranging from 15inch gauge locomotives and rolling stock through to uniforms, photographs and historic engineering, but the new development will see these artefacts come to life with interactive exhibitions allowing visitors to not only see the heritage steam locomotives, but to watch how they work and sit in the driving seat too.

David Rounce, Project and Activities Manager of the Ravenglass Railway Museum said: “We’re excited for the public to see everything we’ve been working on. The museum relies entirely on volunteers and over the last year they have worked extensively to restore the stock, much of which is over 100 years old, to make sure it is in working order and in exhibition condition.’

A star attraction will be the steam locomotive ‘Katie’ which ran at Ravenglass in 1916 and has just been restored to working condition for the first time since the 1920s.

The new professionally-designed displays will appeal to the family and enthusiast alike. Exhibits will include a collection of locomotives and rolling stock spanning the line’s opening in 1875 to the present day, including an interactive steam engine exhibit that visitors can operate themselves. There will also be models and objects telling the story of ‘La’al Ratty’s industrial past as well as the daily life of workers on the railway including their uniforms, ‘bait’ boxes and games to determine if the visitors would be suited to the job.

Thanks to Arts Council PRISM funding, awarded in January 2017, the museum will also boast the restored ‘Big Saloon’ coach which dates back to the opening of the railway to 3ft gauge in 1875, and visitors will be able to hop in and imagine taking a trip up the new line in the 1870s.

Located in the only coastal village in the Lake District, Ravenglass Station is also home to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Stream Railway, or ‘La’al Ratty’; a 7-mile tourist attraction traveling through the Eskdale Valley.

David continued: “As well as attracting tourists from ‘La’al Ratty’ to the museum, we hope it will become something of a community focal point through a programme of changing, community-led, exhibitions, and a range of curriculum-linked resources for schools are being developed to educate local children about the technology and history not only of the railway, but also life and industry in the area.”

There will also be a private archive on the upper level of the new building, for researcher and enthusiasts to book in advance and see intricate artefacts and memorabilia from the heritage railway’s history.

The museum will be open whenever the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is running, which is every day in the summer season. An official opening day and event will be announced soon.


Notes to editors:
1. Images: ‘Katie’ (ran the railway in 1916 and has been restored to working order ready to use and display in the museum. Katie hasn’t yet arrived at Ravenglass) Peter (the museum curator drives Synolda across Barrow Marsh towards Ravenglass May 2016)
2. For more information contact: Catherine Taylor, 01539 825019, ctaylor@cumbriatourism.org
3. The project gained £488,700 of Heritage Lottery Funding in September 2015, along with match-funding from Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF), Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society (RERPS) and Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (R&ER).
4. Located in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast, the current museum opened in 1978in one of the former Furness Railway platform buildings housing a collection of artefacts which had been accumulated around the centenary of the Ravenglass &Eskdale Railway (‘La’al Ratty’) in 1976. The museum is run by the Ravenglass Railway Museum Trust in partnership with the R&ER and RERPS (Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society), and the collection consists of more than 2,000 items, ranging from the 15” gauge Bassett-Lowke loco’ ‘Synolda’ through to models, tools and remnants of one of the original 3’ gauge coaches, plus an extensive archive of photographs (c5,000), tickets, timetables and other ephemera.


Help your community flourish with an entry into the 2017 Cumbria in Bloom Awards

Entries are now open for this year’s ‘Cumbria in Bloom, Pride in Your Community’ Awards and tourism businesses are being urged to make their mark on the competition by 30th April 2017.

For over 30 years, Cumbria in Bloom has been encouraging people to make visual improvements to their surroundings for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. With the outcome of the Lake District’s bid for UNESCO World Heritage status expected this summer, there’s never been a better time to spruce up Cumbria’s horticultural delights and showcase this inspirational ‘cultural landscape’.

Cumbria Tourism is backing the awards, with three special categories for the county’s tourism businesses to take part in:

• Visitor attractions, tourist information centres, caravan parks, and self-catering providers can compete for the Rose Bowl.

• Hotels can showcase their floral delights in a bid for the Jackie Sanderson Trophy.

• B&Bs and guesthouses face a botanic battle for the Cumbria Tourism Chairman’s Trophy.

Also, new to this year is the Greening Grey Britain for Wildlife award, which is open to entries from tourism businesses, schools and neighbourhood groups.

Some of the 2016 winners include: The World of Beatrix Potter (Rose Bowl), The Willowsmere Bed & Breakfast (Cumbria Tourism Chairman’s Trophy), Lakeside Hotel & Spa and Cedar Manor Hotel (Joint winners of Jackie Sanderson Trophy).

ct logo 477 x 322

Businesses to debate key issues for £2.62 billion tourism sector

The impact of Brexit on Cumbria’s tourism industry, tourism apprenticeships, and trends in the camping and caravanning sector – just three of the key issues to be highlighted by guest speakers at Cumbria Tourism’s Commercial Members’ Meeting taking place at Armathwaite Hall in Bassenthwaite on Thursday 9 March 2017.

As the county’s official destination marketing organisation, Cumbria Tourism represents 2,400 member businesses and holds regular Commercial Members’ Meetings around the county to network and discuss topical issues, insights and marketing opportunities for the industry.

Next week’s event gets underway with guest speaker Kurt Janson, who is Director of the Tourism Alliance and will be discussing the implications of Brexit and other current legislation for tourism-related businesses.

Attendees will also hear from the outgoing National Chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, Henry Wild, who will give an update on the camping and caravan sector. Meanwhile, Enterprise & Innovation Lead at the University of Cumbria, Paul Armstrong, will talk about the new Apprenticeship Levy coming into force for UK employers.

There will also be an update on Cumbria Tourism’s recent and planned activity on behalf of the county’s £2.62 billion tourism sector led by Managing Director, Ian Stephens, alongside Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson.
Stands will include Bespoke Aroma, Out of Eden, Uptop Photography & Videography, University of Cumbria and NPD.

If you are a current member and have not yet booked your place at the Commercial Members’ Meeting – or if you are not yet a member and are interested in joining Cumbria Tourism – please contact the team on 01539 822222 / stollerson@cumbriatourism.org.


Tickets on sale date announced for ‘Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle’

The dramatic sight of 30 cavalrymen performing intricate manoeuvres and showcasing their skills with javelins and other weapons can be seen in Carlisle on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July in ‘Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle’.

Tickets to attend this unique event celebrating the accession of Hadrian to the Imperial Roman throne 1,900 years ago go on sale from Friday 3 March.
Part of Hadrian’s Cavalry (www.hadrianscavalry.co.uk), a unique exhibition along the full length of Hadrian’s Wall celebrating the cavalry regiments that once guarded the mighty North West frontier of the Roman Empire, Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle, will see a troop of 30 Roman cavalrymen perform together for the first time in over 1,500 years.

Taking place at Bitts Park, Carlisle on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July, Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle will showcase some of the exercises the Roman cavalry would have performed at sites across the Wall, many described by Hadrian himself.

Bill Griffiths, head of programmes for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and chair of the Hadrian’s Cavalry steering group, said: “This is a rare chance to see the Roman Cavalry in action. Roman cavalry were famous for their lavishly decorated helmets and body armour. The Cavalry would regularly perform exercises to illustrate their skill and prowess. We are really looking forward to bringing this Roman display back to life!”

Bitts Park in Carlisle will be transformed into a Roman Cavalry pageant, complete with mini Hadrian’s Wall visitor village. After passing through the recruitment house, audiences will enter a Roman infantry encampment where they will be invited to join separate teams to cheer on the Roman cavalrymen as they compete with each other in the parade ground. Audiences will also be able to meet some of the cavalrymen and their horses to see close-up the ornate armour and dress.

Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle will feature Roman re-enactors, exhibitions from across the wall, crafts and food and drink concessions.
Zoe Bottrell, producer of Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle, said: “It is a privilege to be working alongside Alan Larsen and his fabulously skilled horses and riders to create the Turma. It is unique and special event to be able to re-create a bit of history, whilst adding a bit of theatre along the way. We hope that audiences will enjoy this remarkable show of skill and pageantry.”
Historically, a turma was a troop of 30 cavalrymen, the basic unit of a Roman cavalry regiment. Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle brings to life the training exercises the cavalrymen performed in front of senior officers and sometimes the Emperor himself. The exercises included performing intricate manoeuvres whilst showcasing their skills with spears and other weaponry. Teams of cavalrymen competed to receive the Emperor’s praise.

Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July at Bitts Park, Carlisle. Performance times are 2pm and 6pm on Saturday 1 July and 4pm on Sunday 2 July 2017. Early bird tickets, available until Monday 1 May, cost £6.50 for children and £9.50 for adults. Full price tickets cost £8:00 for children and £12.50 for adults. A special family ticket (two adults, three children) cost £35.

Tickets go on sale at 10:00 on Friday 3 March from www.hadrianscavalry.co.uk/tickets. Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle tickets can also be bought in person at Carlisle Tourist Information Centre and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.

Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle ticket holders can also benefit from discounted entry into some Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibition venues and the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country bus. For full details visit www.hadrianscavalry.co.uk.
Other cavalry-themed re-enactment events will take place throughout August as part of Hadrian’s Cavalry. Venues include Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum (5 & 6 August), Great North Museum: Hancock (19 & 20 August) and Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum (27 & 28 August).

Additional Roman-themed re-enactment events can be seen at various English Heritage sites too. For details visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle is part of Hadrian’s Cavalry, which opens on Saturday 8 April at 10 museums and heritage attractions along the full 150mile length of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site area. The exhibition brings together a unique group of Roman cavalry objects including ornate helmets, armour and weapons on loan from national and international museums; all shown alongside objects from museums across the Wall. Hadrian’s Cavalry runs until Sunday 10 September 2017.

For more information visit www.hadrianscavalry.co.uk
Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle is funded by Arts Council England, Carlisle City Council and Christian Levett.

CUMBRIA TOURISM AWARDS 2016 --- All award winners, highly commended, and host Justin Moorhouse. // Annual award ceremony from Cumbria Tourism celebrating the best in the county's tourist attractions. Held at Cartmel Racecourse and hosted by comedian Justin Moorhouse. Wednesday 22nd June 2016. HARRY ATKINSON

Calling all Tourism Businesses – entries are open for the 15th Cumbria Tourism Awards

Tourism businesses from across Cumbria have until Thursday 23rd March 2017 to enter the prestigious Cumbria Tourism Awards. Now in their 15th year the awards celebrate the very best of what Cumbria has to offer and the talented individuals behind them. Cumbria’s tourism businesses, drive a visitor economy worth over £2.6 billion making their achievements, hard work and dedication worthy of recognition.

There are 17 award categories in total which cover the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry. Many of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2018. Cumbria has seen a great deal of success at national level in recent years, resulting in fantastic media promotion for the winning businesses and the Lake District, Cumbria as a quality visitor destination.

This year we are delighted to announce the return of the Wedding Venue of the Year Award which was new to the 2016 competition and proved hugely popular.

Following requests from the industry, the Self Catering Holiday of the Year award will now be split into two categories to cater for single properties and multi-unit sites. Self Catering Holiday Property of the Year award will celebrate all styles of self-catering properties accommodating any number of guests within a single-unit or property. Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year award will include businesses with a site offering two or more self catering units.

The other categories include options for hotels, visitor attractions, pubs, guest accommodation, B&Bs and holiday parks, as well as tourism experiences and events.  The awards also recognise the best new tourism business (operating for less than two years), best sustainable business and the Taste Cumbria Award is for businesses offering exceptional service and food using local produce.
The judges will be looking for tourism businesses that demonstrate excellence and innovation across their products and services including; the visitor welcome, marketing, quality and their sustainable / environmental practices.  Winning an award brings substantial benefits including, raising business profile, generating additional business and increasing customer confidence.
For full information on the Cumbria Tourism Awards including how to enter, the benefits of entering and the 17 categories please visit www.cumbriaawards.co.uk

The winners will be announced at a glamorous black tie ‘Oscars’ style awards ceremony on Wednesday 21st June at Cartmel Racecourse.

Rachel Tyson, Head of Marketing & Sales at Cumbria Tourism says:
“We are delighted that the Cumbria Tourism Awards get bigger and better each year with categories to suit all tourism businesses. Now in their 15th year they continue to celebrate the very best of tourism in the county, and we highly recommend that businesses take the opportunity to enter, to get the recognition they deserve. We look forward to receiving the entries over the next few weeks’

In 2016 Askham Hall won Guest Accommodation of the Year and Wedding Venue of the Year.

Marie-Louisa Raeburn from Askham Hall said;

“We were over the moon to win both ‘Guest Accommodation of the Year’ and also the brand-new category ‘Wedding Venue of the Year’ in 2016. Having been open for barely two years, the whole team is thrilled to have been recognised for our excellent customer service, welcoming atmosphere, first class facilities and high quality food. It’s also fantastic publicity!”

In 2016 Parkcliffe Caravan and Camping Estate won Holiday Park of the Year

Susan Dickson from Parkcliffe Caravan and Camping Estate said;

“Winning at the Cumbria Tourism Awards is a huge morale boost for our hardworking team, it’s recognition of the quality service they provide and it highlights to us that the business is continuously moving in the right direction. Awards like these motivate us all to do better, continue to provide the best service possible and go the extra mile.”

For the third year, the awards presented to the winning businesses will made by award-winning architectural and sculptural metalworkers Chris Brammall Ltd in Ulverston.  Chris and his team will again create an iconic and bespoke work of art to reward the achievements of the county’s tourism operators.

Visitors who have had an incredible tourism experience or received exceptional service in the county will be able to recognise that business, through a nomination through Cumbria Tourism’s e-marketing channels.


Whether you prefer scampering up rocks or relaxing with a tipple ‘on the rocks’, three leading attractions in the English Lake District are coming together to launch the new ‘Goat on the Rocks’ tour experience – specially created for group celebrations, including hen and stag dos.

The adventure begins from your hotel door on one of Mountain Goat’s mini coaches, which will make its way past Thirlmere along officially ‘Britain’s best driving road’ to Keswick and up to the heady heights of the epic Honister Pass – one of the country’s steepest roads.

Then it’s time to face your fears at Honister Slate Mine’s Via Ferrata Xtreme. Although it’s twice as high as The Shard and nine times higher than The Big One Rollercoaster, no previous climbing experience is needed for this heady combination of vertical climbs, cliff-edge ladders, rock-face rungs and rope-bridge crossings.

You’ll be guided by professionals and secured to the mountain by a cable at all times – giving the very real sensation of being exposed on a rock face, but with special safety precautions in place.
As you edge your way towards the summit ridge of the mighty Fleetwith Pike, you’ll then take on the challenge of a Burma Bridge suspended more than 2,000 feet above the valley floor.

After time for a well-deserved lunch at a traditional Lakeland inn, the next stop is the multi award winninng -Top Cumbrian Icon Lakes Distillery. With Mountain Goat there is no need for a designated driver, which is just as well as you’ll be treated to a tour to learn about the art of distilling, finished with a tasting of The Lakes Gin, The Lakes Vodka and The ONE Whisky- before heading back to your hotel.

The ‘Goat on the Rocks’ package includes: a bus and driver for the day, Via Ferrata Extreme at Honister Slate Mine and a tour and tasters at the Lake Distillery (lunch not included). It costs £98 per person for groups of between 6 and 24 people.

To book, contact Mountain Goat: 015394 45161 / tours@mountain-goat.com


With another half-term holiday, just around the corner, MyCumbria’s range of offers has expanded to over 220 discounts across Cumbria. The local resident discount scheme, pioneered by Cumbria Tourism will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year and now has more offers, exclusive to those living and working in the county, than ever before.

The card, which costs just £20 and can be used for a full 12 months, gives access to a whole host of discounts for popular family attractions, restaurants and cafes, shopping and leisure activities right across Cumbria.

Make the most of these fantastic family day out discounts across the county this half term:

• South Lakes: 50% off Windermere Lake Cruises, 20% off Tree Top Treks and 10% off food at The Angel Inn

• Barrow: 10% off at Urban Extreme Indoor Skate Park and 20% off food and Oscars at Abbey House

• Carlisle: 25% off admission at Carlisle Castle, 20% off full adult admission to the galleries at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery and 20% off food at Jay Raj

• Eden: 25% off admission at Brougham Castle, 50% off ‘round the lake’ cruises at Ullswater Steamers and 10% off lunch at Inn on the Lake

MyCumbria card holders can also take advantage of county wide, 2 for 1 on cinema tickets at The Plaza in Workington, The Royalty in Bowness, The Roxy in Ulverston and Rheged near Penrith.

Sam Tollerson, Business Development Assistant in charge of MyCumbria said: “Millions of visitors come to Cumbria, but we are fortunate to have such experiences right on our doorstep. MyCumbria offers discounts exclusively to people that live and work in Cumbria and half term is the perfect time to explore what Cumbria has to offer whilst at the same time, saving money.”

To see the full range of discounts available on Cumbria Tourism’s MyCumbria card, visit: www.mycumbriacard.co.uk.


Coming to a TV screen near you…

Award winning film-maker Terry Abraham returns to the Lake District next week as his latest documentary ‘Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra’ is shown on BBC TV.

The highly anticipated sequel to the BBC hit ‘Life of a Mountain: A Year on Scafell Pike’ will showcase some spectacular scenes of Blencathra and the surrounding area. From spring lambs to winters snows, it will look at the lives of local residents, school children and visitors to the mountain with contributions from comedian Ed Byrne, broadcaster Stuart Maconie, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE and record breaking fell runner Steve Birkinshaw.

The film was released on DVD/Blu-ray last year, but an abridged version will be shown on terrestrial TV for the first time later this month. It is due to be screened on BBC Four at 9pm on Tuesday 14th February.

Terry has already been on Radio 6 with Radcliffe and Maconie talking about the TV premiere. He says, “Blencathra is almost a guardian to the locals; it looks over them like a benign friend. It may not be the highest of hills, but it’s certainly iconic and adored by both visitors and residents alike. It truly is a community asset. After all it’s ‘the people’s mountain”.

Broadcaster and Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, Eric Robson, says, “I’m looking forward to this film tremendously. Terry Abraham’s previous documentary about Scafell Pike prompted rave reviews from viewers, and I’ve no doubt this latest offering will again showcase Cumbria’s epic views and splendours to the audience watching at home.”

A major exhibition dedicated to the new documentary and the area around Blencathra will open at the Keswick Museum & Art Gallery in May.

An unabridged film version of ‘Life of a Mountain: Blencathra – A Year in the Life of the People’s Mountain’ is available to buy on DVD via http://www.stridingedge.com/or Amazon UK. A video entitled ‘the Mountain’ features music from the documentary and is available on YouTube.