Cumbria Tourism Awards 2017

Cumbria Tourism – the official destination marketing organisation for the county’s £2.72 billion tourism industry – has revealed the winners of the 15th Cumbria Tourism Awards at a prestigious black tie award ceremony held at Cartmel Racecourse.

The evening celebrated the very best of Cumbria’s tourism industry with hundreds of tourism professionals representing businesses from around the county.

Winners were announced by Cally Beaton, a woman of many talents, including comedian, Viacom International Senior Vice-President, founder of Road Trip Media, executive coach and single parent to two teenagers

The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrate the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry and are open to a whole range of tourism related businesses including; hotels, B&Bs, holiday parks, pubs, visitor attractions, events, businesses and tourism staff, which make up the county’s successful tourism industry.

Most of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2018.

Each category winner received a certificate and a specially commissioned award handcrafted by award-winning architectural and sculptural metalworkers Chris Brammall Ltd in Ulverston.

This year, in addition to the awards, the 2017 Bernard Gooch Tourism Personality of the Year Award was awarded to Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, for the outstanding personal contribution he has made to Tourism in Cumbria.

The award presented by Cumbria Tourism’s Executive Committee recognises those who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the visitor economy and reputation of The Lake District, Cumbria. Recent previous winners include farmer and author James Rebanks, Paul Loftus, the organiser of the annual Fred Whitton Challenge cycling event the renowned Cumbrian chef Simon Rogan and Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said:
“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in making last night such a fantastic success and came together to celebrate Cumbria’s £2.72 billion tourism industry.  The 2017 winners and finalists represent the very best of what Cumbria has to offer and we should all be very proud of the outstanding product we have here in Cumbria. The range of exceptional quality available keeps us firmly on the global map as a world class visitor destination and with World Heritage inscription soon to be unveiled we need to keep up the investment and maximise the new opportunities that are just around the corner. On a personal note, I was pleasantly surprised and honoured to receive the Bernard Gooch award and I’m proud to be recognised by my peers in this way.”

Cumbria Tourism would like to thank their sponsors for making the event possible, they include: Lamont Pridmore, Out of Eden, Colourmedia, Christie & Co, Enterprise Answers, Chris Brammall Ltd, Kendal College, NatWest Commercial Banking, H&H Reeds, Armstrong Watson, Colliers International, University of Cumbria, Burnetts Solicitors, Cumberland Business, Brakes and One Cost, Ambience Venue Styling, Lakeland Chauffeurs, Campbell & Rowley Corporate Catering and Cartmel Racecourse.

The 2017 winners are:

Tourism Experience of the Year 
WINNER: Bay Cycle Way, Morecambe Bay Partnership

Tourism Event of the Year
Sponsored by Colourmedia
WINNER: Go Herdwick Public Art Trail

Wedding Venue of the Year
Sponsored by Brakes & One Cost
WINNER: The Villa Levens
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Daffodil Hotel and Spa, Grasmere

Taste Cumbria Award
Sponsored by Enterprise Answers
WINNER: Askham Hall, Askham

Tourism Pub of the Year
Sponsored by Christie & Co
WINNER: The Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale

B&B of the Year
Sponsored by Cumberland Business
WINNER: The Malabar, Sedbergh

Guest Accommodation of the Year
Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
WINNER: Hazel Bank Country House, Borrowdale

Small Hotel of the Year 
Sponsored by Colliers International
WINNER: Cragwood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Large Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Armstrong Watson
WINNER:  The Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge

New Tourism Business Award 
WINNER: Cliffhanger Rooms, Newby Bridge
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Cocoa Bean, Hawkshead

Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence
WINNER: Mel Ibbotson, Leathes Head Hotel, Borrowdale

Sustainable Tourism Award
Sponsored by University of Cumbria
WINNER: The Quiet Site, Ullswater
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Newlands Adventure Centre, Keswick

Self-Catering Provider of the Year
Sponsored by Out of Eden
WINNER: The Halston, Carlisle

Self-Catering Property of the Year 
WINNER: Hart Barn, Patterdale
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gate House, Coniston

Visitor Attraction of the Year
Sponsored by H&H Reeds Printers
WINNER: Mirehouse and Gardens, Bassenthwaite

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Sponsored by Burnetts
WINNER: Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle

Holiday Park of the Year 
Sponsored by NatWest
WINNER: Skelwith Fold Caravan Park, Ambleside

The Bernard Gooch Award for Tourism Personality of the Year was presented by last year’s recipient of the award Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises.

For images click HERE

To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards visit

Cunbria Tourism 270 x 270

Between 2015 and 2016, there was an overall 5.2% increase in tourist numbers and 4.1% in tourism revenue. This is mainly due to increasing numbers of day trippers over the last 12 months, which were up 6% on 2015. It also reflects the 2016 Visitor Attractions Performance Survey carried out by Cumbria Tourism’s research team, which showed an average 7.2% rise in people visiting tourist attractions across the county.

There is also a longer-term upward trend in overnight stays, which have grown by 1.2 million visits (or 22.3%) since 2013.

The latest tourism stats will be one of the key themes to be discussed at Cumbria Tourism’s upcoming AGM, which takes place on Thursday 15 June 2017 at the Rheged Centre in Penrith.

All of Cumbria Tourism’s 2,500 member businesses are invited to the event, which will also see the unveiling of the seven new private sector Non-Executive Directors to help drive forward the organisation’s commercial aims and ambitions throughout 2017 and beyond.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Ian Stephens, says, “The latest tourism figures are sure to be a key talking point at next month’s AGM. Times are tough, but the evidence suggests that we have a strong and resilient industry, which is continuing to grow year on year.

“The day visitor market is looking particularly positive, but of course, it’s not just about the volume of people. What we want to do is attract more high spending, staying visitors, particularly from expanding overseas markets, and encourage them to explore all corners of our diverse and inspirational county. In this way, we can continue to help drive the local economy through retail, leisure, accommodation, and food and drink.”

Other guest speakers at Cumbria Tourism’s AGM will include Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts, who will be talking about the new ‘Route 66’ project. Businesses will also hear from Graham Haywood, Managing Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). He will be focusing on the county’s Growth Plan and the potential benefits of the Lake District hopefully being designated as a World Heritage Site this summer.

Cumbria Tourism members can book their place at the AGM by contacting the team on 01539 822222 /

Bridge opening procession for the New Gowan Bridge, Staveley

Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official destination marketing organisation – is welcoming today’s opening of a new bridge to re-connect the Lakeland village of Staveley and welcome back visitors, after it suffered irrepairable damage during Storm Desmond.

The construction of the replacement bridge in Staveley, near Kendal, comes as a massive relief to those tourism businesses which have suffered a downturn in business due to a reduction in traffic and passing trade.

The bridge re-opening has been heralded by the local community with celebrations under the theme of ‘500 ways to cross the bridge’. Today’s procession included residents in fancy dress led by Staveley’s oldest resident, 98-year-old Charles Partridge, who has lived in the village for the past 62 years.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “The opening of this new bridge in Staveley gives local residents and businesses alike a renewed sense of optimism as we go forward into the summer holiday season. I am very proud of the continued resilience and determination of the local community to bring Staveley back to full strength and show visitors everything that this vibrant Lakeland village has to offer.”

Cumbria County Council has invested approximately £500,000 in the Staveley bridge replacement project, which forms part of the county council’s overall £120m infrastructure recovery programme to repair damage caused during the 2015 winter floods. A total of £45 million is being invested in 2016/17 to repair more than 350 roads and bridges, including Gowan Old Bridge in Staveley.

King Arthur in Cumbria

Due for release this week, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an upcoming epic adventure film retelling the story of the famous legend. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the cast includes Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey and Jude Law.

And with Arthur Pendragon himself (Hunnam) living and learning in Cumbria as a child, GoLakes explains why there may be more connection between the legendary myth and Cumbria than you think …

1. King Arthur’s Round Table

One of the most famed aspects of the Legend of King Arthur, the Round Table would have stood in various locations around the country as and when his parliament of knights needed to gather. But an earthworks at Eamont Bridge, near Penrith has been aptly-named ‘King Arthur’s Round Table’. The site is a natural amphitheatre and would have been ideal for the knights coming together. It is also thought that fifty champions of the realm met there to joust for the hand of King Arthur’s daughter, Gwyneth.

2. Excalibur in the Lake

The story goes that when King Arthur was on his death bed he asked one of his knights to return the legendary sword, Excalibur to the lake it originally came from, Bassenthwaite. Bedivere, the night in question fulfilled Arthur’s wishes before the King asked to be taken to Avalon. In Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poetry he describes King Arthur’s final journey and the return of the sword to the water. (He wrote about the lake when staying at Mirehouse, overlooking Bassenthwaite.)

3. Camelot

Camelot was King Arthur’s base. Although historians are sceptical about the existence of a real King Arthur, it has been suggested that the city of Carlisle would be the place most likely for the king to base his headquarters. Other Cumbrian locations have also been proposed, including along the Solway Firth and a once contested area along the Borders, now known as Longtown.

4. Avalon

Some versions of the King Arthur legend say that he didn’t actually die, only that he went into an extended hibernation. A gathering of Arthur’s loyal knights are supposed to have taken the fatally wounded king to Avalon and after returning the sword of Excalibur to Bassenthwaite. The representation of Avalon is thought to be Blencathra, a mountain only 12 miles from the lake.

5. Pendragon Castle

South of Kirkby Stephen lies the ruins of the puzzling Castle of Pendragon. The myths say that it was originally built by Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. Pendragon supposedly tried to divert the waters of the nearby River Eden to form a moat, but neither his engineering nor the magic of the wizard Merlin could persuade the river to alter its course. Uther is said to have died in the castle, when Saxon soldiers poisoned the water in his well.

6. Birdoswald and Hadrian’s Wall

By 410AD, the Roman grip on Britain was slipping and many of the Empire’s solders were being withdrawn. The legend of King Arthur claims that a young Arthur trained in a warrior school on the Roman Wall, so it is quite likely that this would have been at one of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall in the north of Cumbria.
At the other end of Arthur’s endeavours, his last battle was at Vamlann, also known as Camboglanna. This is thought to be the old Roman name for Birdoswald. Now the longest surviving stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, Birdoswald could quite possibly be the location of Arthur’s last battle as King.

7. Aira Force

The waterfall along the shore of Ullswater, Aira Force was home to Sir Eglamore, a noble Knight of the Round Table. He lived near Aira Force with his beloved Emma. There is a love story, immortalised in William Wordsworth’s The Somnabulist, which Emma missed her knight so much as he was away fighting in the Crusades that she could not sleep. One night she was sleep walking by the falls dressed in white. Sir Eglamore thought what he saw was a phantom. When he realised it was Emma, he called out to her but he startled her and she fell to her death. He was so heartbroken he lived out his days as hermit under the falls of Aira Force.

… But the myths and legends across Cumbria don’t end with just King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

8. Long Meg and her Daughters

Long Meg Standing Stone is said to be a witch, a dancing girl, an earth mother and even a seductress. The unaccountable circle of stones around her are thought to be her victims, her daughters, her lovers or the other girls from nearby Little Salkeld, near Lazonby. The 68 stones make Long Meg and her Daughters one of the largest prehistoric stone circles in the UK.

9. The Witch of Tebay

There are many tales of witches around the old county of Westmorland, but none more famous than Mary Bynes: The Witch of Tebay. She apparently predicted the arrival of the railway and was blamed for every accident in the village. Her lingering influence is thought to be the reason why the village displays an array of ‘witch stones’ – shaped and holed pieces of limestone which were believed to protect homes and families from witches when set on top of a garden wall.

10. The Pagan God Loki

After being undiscovered and used as a building stone for many years in Kirkby Stephen Parish Church you can now find the Loki stone on display, one of only two examples surviving in Europe. Loki was a Norse God and presumably brought to the region by Viking settlers. The carving of Loki shows a figure resembling the devil with sheep’s horns, whose legs and arms are bound by heavy irons, an image symbolic of the overpowering of Paganism by Christian beliefs.

To find out more about visiting these landmarks around Cumbria please visit or join Lakes and Legends, a brand new tour, as you discover the history of the Romans, Vikings and magical myths of Cumbria guided by either Eric Bloodaxe, Merlin or King Arthur himself.

Cumbria Tourism Awards 2017

Over the last month, the Judges have been meeting to go through the entries submitted for this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards to draw up a shortlist of finalists across the 17 categories. We are delighted to announce that the celebration, held on Wednesday 21st June 2017, will be returning to Cartmel Racecourse for a second year and catered by Campbell and Rowley’s.
The awards celebrate the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry and are open to a whole range of tourism related businesses including; hotels, B&Bs, holiday parks, pubs, visitor attractions, events, businesses and tourism staff, which make up the county’s successful tourism industry.

Most of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2018.

The shortlisted businesses will attend a prestigious black tie award ceremony and compete for the honour of being recognised as the best in Cumbria in their respective category.
Ian Stephens, Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism, says:
“2017 has been another fantastic year for entries with exceptional quality shown across all the categories, demonstrating that Cumbria’s businesses continue to offer world class levels of quality, service and experience for visitors.  It’s been a tough job for the shortlisting panel but we are now able to announce the successful finalists for the 2017 Cumbria Tourism Awards. I would like to congratulate each and every business for making it to this year’s final and for their continuing hard work and commitment to tourism in the county.”

Cumbria Tourism would like to thank their sponsors for making the event possible, they include: Armstrong Watson, Burnetts Solicitors, Chris Brammall Ltd, Christie & Co, Colliers International, Colourmedia, Cumberland Business, Enterprise Answers, H&H Reeds Printers, Lamont Pridmore, Lakeland Chauffeurs, Out of Eden, University of Cumbria, Cartmel Racecourse and Campbell and Rowley’s.

The 2017 finalists are:

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
Sponsored by Out of Eden
• The Nests at The Swan
• Pullwood Bay
• The Halston

Self-Catering Holiday Property of the Year
Sponsorship opportunity available
• Gate House
• Waitby School
• Hart Barn

Holiday Park of the Year
Sponsored by NatWest
• Waterfoot Park
• The Quiet Site
• Skelwith Fold Caravan Park
• Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park

Guest Accommodation of the Year
Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
• Hazel Bank Country House
• Broadoaks Country House
• The Grange Country House Bed and Breakfast

B&B of the Year
Sponsored by Cumberland Business
• Hill Crest Country Guest House
• The Malabar
• Lanercost Bed and Breakfast

Taste Cumbria Award
Sponsored by Enterprise Answers
• Askham Hall
• Merewood Country House Hotel
• The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden
• The Bistro, Lakes Distillery

Sustainable Tourism Award
Sponsored by University of Cumbria
• Newlands Adventure Centre
• The Quiet Site
• Ullswater Steamers
• Skelwith Fold Caravan Park

Tourism Event of the Year
Sponsored by Colourmedia
• The Winter Droving (Eden Arts)
• Go Herdwick Public Art Trail (The Lake District Calvert Trust)
• Where is Peter Rabbit Production (World of Beatrix Potter Attraction)
• Beatrix Potter 150th Anniversary Programme (The National Trust)

Large Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Armstrong Watson
• The Daffodil Hotel & Spa
• The Trout Hotel
• Castle Green Hotel
• The Swan

Small Hotel of the Year
Sponsored by Colliers International
• Appleby Manor Hotel & Garden Spa
• Cragwood Country House Hotel
• The Ryebeck

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Sponsored by Burnetts Solicitors
• World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
• Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
• Walby Farm Park
• Holker Hall & Gardens

Visitor Attraction of the Year
Sponsored by H&H Reeds Printers
• Wordsworth House & Garden
• The Beacon Museum
• Mirehouse & Gardens

Tourism Experience of the Year
Sponsorship opportunity available
• Cyclewise Whinlatter
• Go Ape Whinlatter
• Bay Cycle Way

New Tourism Business Award
Sponsorship opportunity available
• Cliffhanger Rooms
• CBA Events @ Graythwaite
• Chocolate World

Wedding Venue of the Year
Sponsorship opportunity available
• The Villa Hotel
• The Daffodil Hotel & Spa
• The Wild Boar
• The Coppermines Mountain Wedding Venue

Tourism Pub of the Year
Sponsored by Christie & Co
• The Mason’s Arms, Strawberry Bank
• Kirkstile Inn (Loweswater)
• The Flying Pig
• Three Shires Inn

The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence
• Mel Ibbotson, The Leathes Head Hotel
• Paula Richardson & Frank McGurk, Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel
• Brimstone Hotel Host Team

Cumbria Tourism logo

‘Health check’ launched for tourism businesses

Cumbria’s tourism businesses are being asked to take part in a county-wide survey to find out how the sector is performing.

The ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ being co-ordinated by Cumbria Tourism aims to understand the successes and challenges being faced by businesses across the county’s £2.62 billion tourism industry.

As Cumbria heads into its main visitor season, the anonymous survey being distributed to businesses will enable them to benchmark their performance over the past 6 months (October 2016-March 2017) and comment on the issues and trends affecting trade – from the impact of Brexit to the skills and training needs in their organisation.

The research will be used by Cumbria Tourism to help make the county’s case for future investment funding and business support. It will also inform the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and its Growth Plan for the Visitor Economy.

Research Manager for Cumbria Tourism, Helen Tate, says, “This survey is quick and easy to complete and is really important for helping us to understand the factors affecting trade, in both a positive and negative way. We have been carrying out the six monthly business survey for many years now and it has helped us to build up a long-term picture of current and emerging issues, so we can keep supporting the industry and continuously improving the county as a tourism destination.”

Cumbria Tourism’s six-monthly ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ is just one area of regular research undertaken by the organisation. Other analysis by the research team includes county-wide visitor surveys, monthly occupancy surveys, regular analysis of accommodation stock and data collection from Tourist Information Centres and visitor attractions, all of which help us to understand the performance of – and plans for – the tourism industry in Cumbria.

For more information, contact Research Manager, Helen Tate:


VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2017 name Cumbrian finalists

Three Cumbrian Tourism Award winners have been revealed as finalists in VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence 2017 in the following categories:
• Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate Windermere – Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year category
• The Waternook Estate Ullswater – Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
• FSC Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld – Sustainable Tourism Award

The national awards recognise and congratulate those businesses and individuals from across England who champion the very best practice and excellence in customer service, with the local finalists all selected from Cumbria Tourism’s own regional award winners in 2016.

This year saw the highest number of applications ever submitted for the awards, and the 67 finalists were selected from almost 600 applications spread across 22 categories.

Rachel Tyson Head of Marketing and Sales at Cumbria Tourism, says;
“It is a fantastic achievement for these three highly successful Cumbrian businesses to reach the final stages of these prestigious awards and represent Cumbria at a national level. They are already Cumbria Tourism award-winners and I wish them all the best for the final and look forward to the results.”

Commenting on being shortlisted in the Sustainable Tourism category;
Tim Foster Head of Centre at FSC Blencathra Centre says; “This is quite amazing following on from our success in 2016 as the Cumbria Tourism Sustainable Tourism Winner and reflects well on our organisations commitment to sustainability. At the heart of our work is renewable energy and this has expanded our education programmes to cover demonstration of renewable energy issues both to our learners and to a wider business audience making sustainability a reality.”

The winners of this prestigious accolade will be announced by VisitEngland at the Awards ceremony on Monday 24 April at the Hilton Waldorf, London.

HRH The Prince of Wales honoured by Cumbria’s tourism industry.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is being recognised with a unique award for his ‘Special Contribution to Tourism in Cumbria’ during a visit to the county today, Monday 10 April 2017.

Cumbria Tourism – the destination marketing organisation which represents 2,400 tourism businesses – is honouring The Prince of Wales for his many years of strong support for visitor dependent businesses and communities. Notable examples include 2001’s outbreak of foot and mouth disease, as well as the floods in 2009 and 2015.

His Royal Highness is being presented with a personalised print of iconic Herdwick sheep in a Lake District setting by the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Ian Stephens. It is part of a visit to preview Whitehaven’s redeveloped Rosehill Theatre, which is set to open to the public in May, including a newly restored auditorium and a new restaurant overlooking the Solway Firth.

Rosehill is a member of Cumbria Tourism and this exciting redevelopment represents a significant addition to the visitor economy of the west coast of Cumbria. This will lead to increased business for hotels and accommodation providers, as well as extended stays and additional draw from the central Lake District and further afield, linking closely with our cultural tourism programme.

The Herdwick sheep print is the work of celebrated photographer Ian Lawson, whose Herdwick exhibition at Rheged in 2015 was enjoyed by His Royal Highness on a previous visit to the county.

Ian Stephens said, “The Prince of Wales has been extremely supportive of Cumbria and helped communities and businesses through some difficult times. He has always been willing to come to the county in time of crisis and so many of the residents and businesses that we’ve spoken to have a very real sense that he genuinely cares about what happens here”.

He added, “As an organisation, Cumbria Tourism felt the time was right to recognise His Royal Highness for this long-standing commitment and this presentation is a reflection of the affinity and long-standing respect he has for this special part of the world”.

Richard Elder, Director of Rosehill said: “We are very pleased to welcome Cumbria Tourism to make this presentation to His Royal Highness at Rosehill, and to highlight the significant part Rosehill can play in the Cumbrian visitor economy, following this redevelopment”.

Cumbria Tourism logo

£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: and

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