The mood was jovial on Thursday, March 6th at The Butchers Arms in Crosby Ravensworth, as volunteer members of the Lyvennet Activity Group (LAG) Health and Wellbeing Lunch Club presented a cheque for £240 to Isa Henderson, a Trustee of The Sunbeams Trust, Music For Life Charity. The money was raised at the popular Sunbeams Charity Concert on January 9th at Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall, where Annie Mawson M.B.E. and Keith Redfern entertained 130 local residents in an audience that spanned generations, drawn from rurally isolated Eden Valley Village communities in the surrounding Westmorland Fells. The interactive music event organised had children and elderly fully engaged in short order. Annie charmed all with her jolly banter, sweet song and harp of willow, and Keith played his acoustic guitar, sang and performed delightful magic tricks. The cheque will help support Sunbeams Trust’s construction of a purpose-built Community Music Therapy and Training Centre at Redhills near Penrith. The facility will deliver music therapy and training to the disabled and disadvantaged and serve as a centre of learning and research for music therapists to bring community music therapy to disadvantaged people across the UK.
The January 9th concert was funded by a Neighbourhood Care Initiative small grant administered by Cumbria Community Volunteer Service (CVS), and after lunch options of roast turkey or Lancashire hotpot, with chocolate pudding and cream for dessert, which incidentally, maintained the Club’s reputation for fine dining, the members met two visiting Carlisle and Eden CVS staff, Tony Brown, Local Engagement Officer and Mark Costello, Business Development Officer.
Club Organiser, Joan Raine thanked them on behalf of the volunteers and members for enabling the concert and for kindly contributing an additional tranche of money to the club to support activities of the Club’s choice. She then invited them to talk a little about the Cumbria CVS mission.
Mark and Tony briefly introduced themselves and explained that the Cumbria Community Volunteer Service is interested in the Lyvennet Activity Group and would like to include it in the film that they’re making at the moment. They showed their Big Lottery Fund badges and identified the fund as their sponsor. Mark explained that Cumbria CVS helps provide infrastructure and advisory support to third sector groups, promoting volunteering and helping individual volunteers to develop their skills, and volunteer groups to develop their capacity to succeed in their various types of work. Cumbria CVS supports individual volunteers and voluntary groups throughout Cumbria in various ways, for example by organising information events, training opportunities, funding application workshops and facilitating networking. This ‘third sector’ activity is very active across the County and important to life as we know it, both in towns and the countryside, much depends upon volunteers. Opportunities are varied, including caring, youth work, administration, supporting disabled or older people, driving, conservation, and being a trustee are all good examples.
Members completed a short feedback survey and then the theme of volunteering continued with guest speaker Mr. David Graham M.B.E.’s illustrated presentation on the recent award of his Member Of The British Empire medal for his valuable Lyvennet community work. David acknowledged that acceptance had been particularly difficult decision, as albeit he was chair of various groups there were numerous other key people who had worked tirelessly to deliver the projects. He then enthusiastically described his whole experience from the stunning elation of receiving the news to preparations for the award ceremony including the difficulty of getting formal shoes in size 14 for his son just in time for the event and then the ceremony itself. Using the LAG’s new digital projector and screen, purchased with funding from The Cumbria Community Foundation, David showed the official film of the day and afterwards passed around his medal, his certificate and official photographs, all were top quality. He said the ceremony was all so well-planned and organised that it was like a military operation and that the staff were excellent and very supportive. He described his conversation with HRH Prince Charles in the vast chamber. “He spoke to me very personally,” David said, “He asked about our pub, the Butchers Arms, as he is very supportive of preserving rural pubs, “The Pub’s the Hub”, you know. He knew all about our Community housing work too. Again he is keenly interested in sustainability of rural communities such as ours.”
There was active question and answer repartee and genuine happiness at the recognition of his service to the community. Needless to say that without its Community Pub venue, where would LAG be? Probably up the Lyvennet without a paddle. Evidence, if any is required, that volunteering does have meaningful impact.
It was a rare opportunity to enjoy his well-deserved award vicariously and the members enjoyed the afternoon very much. “It was the best talk yet,” one observed on the way out.
Find out more about The Sunbeams Trust and Music For Life at http://www.sunbeamsmusic.org/
To discover more about the Cumbria CVS please see http://cumbriacvs.org.uk/