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Awards 2024

Homeless and poverty not-for-profit given new year boost

STRIVING to make a real difference to those facing homelessness and poverty in West Cumbria, a social enterprise company has been given a timely boost.

Time To Change West Cumbria has been chosen by Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) as its charity of the year for 2024.

Time to Change, a member of the business cluster since 2016, is dedicated to addressing and alleviating homelessness and poverty in the region, offering a comprehensive service, providing individuals in need with essential support to help them transition towards a brighter future.

Through its charity of the year programme BECBC aims to offer support in raising the profile of the not-for-profit organisation, raising funds, and building wider relationships with businesses - increasing awareness of who Time to Change are and what they do.

This is not the only change for BECBC this year - after the introduction of a new online platform, where members can share business cards, post updates, and message each other directly. The investment aims to boost member collaboration, support networks and sharing best practice to strengthen the cluster and aid business resilience in Cumbria.

The company’s sector groups will also continue to evolve, driving and guiding the conversations within professional services, nuclear, social value, and organisational health for performance.

BECBC is always on the lookout for opportunities to bring to members, Dianne Richardson, the company’s CEO, said: “The charity of the year initiative is another way to enrich local businesses with knowledge of the issues facing our community here in West Cumbria.

“The vision for the next 12 months is to maximise members’ involvement in our exciting events, which we know help to form beneficial relationships. The hope is that we deliver even more opportunities through the use of our new online platforms, and ongoing Energy Networx meetings in brand new locations.

“Our first meeting of the year (January 10) is in a brand new location in Penrith. The cluster has grown and evolved naturally in recent years and we are keen to embrace all of the companies who sit underneath our umbrella. Offering a couple of meetings a year elsewhere in the county will hopefully allow more members to join us in person. The majority of our meetings will still be held at our home at Energus.

“Last year we spent a lot of time working with members on our strategy for 2024-27 and we will be building on this in the coming months. It’s a busy year ahead and we are committed to delivering member value and being their voice in Cumbria.”

After a successful year of partnership with The Freedom Project, a domestic violence charity based in the region, BECBC consulted staff, contractors and volunteers in choosing a new member to receive support.

Time to Change received the most votes, and will be championed to the BECBC community and beyond throughout the year through fundraising events, community collaboration, and business engagement.

Lee Grears, Chair at BECBC, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Time to Change as our 2024 charity of the year. The incredible work they do tackles a pressing issue in our community, and these partnerships provide BECBC with an invaluable understanding of the important work that is going on community-wide.

“Homelessness not only deprives individuals of basic necessities but also creates a cycle of instability that can lead to further challenges such as mental health issues and addiction. It is so important to encourage local businesses to engage, and collaborate for change.”

Rachel Holliday, Founder and CEO of Time to Change West Cumbria, said: “Many people know our Calderwood House Homeless Hostel that prioritises ex service men and women but they don’t know of all the other projects that we run.

“This month we are hoping to launch a Night Shelter providing food and a place to stay for those who are homeless in West Cumbria. We are looking for funding and volunteers to support this, so being able to reach out to a wider audience via the cluster membership is a huge plus for the charity.

“I was introduced to BECBC as a member back in 2016 by Emma-Jayne Gooch, who is now Chairperson at Time to Change, it’s a real show of the collaborative effort that BECBC strives for.”

“Beyond the hostel, we deliver many other essential programmes, aiding those in financial distress, sheltering the homeless, supporting women escaping domestic violence, and much more. BECBC making us the charity of the year will not only help us financially but it will help us educate people on homelessness and the issues in our communities and hopefully create a ripple effect of kindness.”


Inside Calderwood house
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