Minister joins in celebration of voluntary sector

The Minister for Civil Society, Brooks Newmark, visited various organisations for volunteers in the district.

Mr. Newmark, MP for Braintree, Essex, was in Cumbria to hear more about achievements in the third, or voluntary, sector, and events were held at the Outward Bound centre, Howtown, and, at Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service and Cumbria’s Third Sector Network, Penrith, to show some of the work being done.

Civil society minister Brooks Newmark gives a helping hand during a climbing session at Martindale with (left to right) Shannon Falk, Sophie Porter, Hannah Coote and Louise Harris, all from Cumbria.

Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) received money from the Big Lottery Fund for an Eden partnership program and was one of the organisations that Mr. Newmark visited.

CAfS manager Hazel Graham said: “We have achieved far more in partnership than we could ever have achieved alone. The program covers several themes including energy use, food, transport, education, resource use and adaptation to climate change impacts.

“It was good to get an opportunity to demonstrate to the minister what can be achieved, and also to discuss additional support that is required from government.”

Mr. Newmark visited the Howtown centre as part of a celebration marking the 100,000th person to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS), an initiative which is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England, and involves them taking part in 30 hours of outdoor activities and helping the community.

The minister did not just watch activities there, but got involved with team challenges, whilst also finding out more from the youngsters.

Mark Bowman, chief executive of Inspira, which is a delivery partner of NCS, said: “It was good to get Brooks there for young people doing the NCS program and to give him a flavour of what has been happening.”

Mr. Newmark, who was appointed Minister for Civil Society last month, said: “My visit to Cumbria has been inspiring. It was wonderful to see the pioneering work of local infrastructure organisations and how well partnerships are working.”