•  and 

Type of content:


03 July 2018

Cumbria is officially a Social Enterprise County

The Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership is hosting an event to celebrate Cumbria being awarded the status of Social Enterprise County. The event held on Thursday 5 July, will take place at the recently opened People First Conference Centre in Carlisle.

The main focus of the day will be to discuss what being a Social Enterprise County means for Cumbria and the thriving social enterprise sector in the county. 

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK who will be a keynote speaker at the event said:

“We are delighted that Cumbria is now officially a Social Enterprise County. It was the parish of Alston Moor which began the Social Enterprise Places movement back in 2013, showing how social enterprises embedded in a community can drive growth and opportunity at a local level. It is a testament to the ambition of this small town that this ethos has now spread across the county.

 “Like so many rural areas, Cumbria faces many challenges from issues around connectivity and unemployment, to tackling the challenges of an ageing population. Yet despite this it is a region full of inspirational social entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to these problems. Whether it’s delivering frontline health and social care services or a setting up a nature reserve and using the area’s outstanding beauty to benefit the community - Cumbrian social enterprises are showing us a different way of doing business, one that puts people and communities first.”  

The event is being run as part of the Social Enterprise Support Programme funded by Cumbria County Council.  The current programme has also provided business support to over 60 social enterprises, both to existing organisations and to start-up businesses.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services who will be speaking at the event said:

“It is fantastic to have an event such as this where we are able to celebrate the award of Social Enterprise Place Status.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in making this event happen, especially Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership for being the driving force behind the award bid.

 “The Council has supported the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership since 2005. Since then we have seen the sector grow and grow so that it is now providing; over 4,000 jobs and involves more than 1,500 volunteers, it contributes over £350 million to the local economy, and in 2013 Alston Moor became the World’s First Social Enterprise Town!

“There are many opportunities to be explored in how the county council works with the social enterprise sector and I’ll be encouraging council officers to continue to work with our social entrepreneurs.”

The new People First Conference Centre is unique; hosted by their Hospitality Academy learners who have learning difficulties and will provide valuable training and work experience to become receptionists, conference hosts, caterers, maintenance workers and gardeners.  People First relocated from Bothergate in March to the former University of Cumbria Library and Resource Centre located in Milbourne Street, which had been lying empty for four years. Future plans for later in the year include opening a Riverside CafĂ© within the building.

Rob Randell, Chair of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, said:

“It is estimated that social enterprises in Cumbria contribute over £350m annually to the local economy and employ over 4,000, before considering the huge social value they create.  We are delighted to get this recognition and it is a real testament to the contribution the sector makes to the county.” 

The event is free to attend and bookings can be made via Eventbrite:


The Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership is hosting an event to celebrate Cumbria being awarded the status of Social Enterprise County.