April, 2017

Fully funded degree for young adults working in Cumbria and North Lancashire charity sector

Young adults, either working or volunteering for a local charity or community group are being encouraged to put themselves forward for a FREE degree in Social Enterprise Leadership.

Those behind the ‘Aspiring Leaders Programme’ (ALP), which is now recruiting for its third cycle, say it is a long term commitment to the area’s young adults who could revitalise the charity sector and raise community aspirations. It is, they believe, a way to ensure that services to those most in need are maintained and developed in the future.

Past students have gone on to set up groups to respond to their community’s needs, from autism support to adult education. They have taken up management and leadership roles in local charities and the Alumni are also providing positive role models to teens in their community. Twelve young adults pioneered the first ALP (2011-2014) and 13 more are due to graduate from the second round (2014 to 2017) this summer.

The search is now on for the next group whose three year programme, leading to a BSc (Hons) in Social Enterprise Leadership, begins this September (2017).

Nominations are invited from 20 to 32-years-old, who are new to higher education and have the backing of their local charity or community group.

Aspiring Leaders Programme Director Helen Carter from Brathay Trust, which helps deliver the course, said:

“This degree is like no other. The content is pioneering and holistic with a real focus on personal development and business leadership. It includes residential courses, diverse work experience and visits, unique networking opportunities, your own mentor – a manager or leader from the business or community sector – and 16 taught University modules over three years. It’s all about growing leaders who really care about, and know, their communities and who want things to be better for themselves and for those around them.

“We would like to hear from young adults who want help to develop their skills and confidence and who have had little, or no, opportunity to do this. That may be a young parent, someone who struggled at school and wants to try learning again but, most of all, anyone with an ambition to contribute positively to their community” Helen Carter added.

Programme director Helen Carter explained the thinking behind the course, she said:

“Dynamic, transformative change is happening in and to the voluntary and community sector.

“The ability to anticipate, adapt and thrive is crucial. The vision behind this unique programme is to grow our future leaders – young adults, who need help to discover their talents, which will ultimately serve the needs of their communities. As the programmes run, we hope to see a generational improvement in the leadership capability of the charitable sector, particularly in the most deprived areas of Cumbria and North Lancashire.

“Having been involved with ALP since it started, I have had the privilege to get to know some amazing young adults who are having an impact on those around them” continued Helen.

The programme is delivered by University of Cumbria, Brathay Trust and Common Purpose. Largely funded by the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust (FCSCT), ALP3 also has the support of Rathbones Investment Management, who have backed it from the outset, the Sir John Fisher Foundation and Langdale Leisure. They provide all the University of Cumbria degree course fees; a contribution to support, travel and IT costs each year; dedicated 1:1 mentoring support; two leadership training residential courses a year at Brathay Hall; membership of an on‐line learning network and visits to meet inspirational business and community leaders. In return, participants are asked to complete all the assignments, attend at least 80% of the programme, support fellow learners and leave with the intention of working in, or supporting, their local community in North Lancashire or Cumbria after graduation.

The closing date for applications is Monday 15 May. Places are limited and will be offered after an interview and assessment weekend at Brathay Hall, Ambleside.

Case studies, further details and an application form can be found on the FCSCT website:

Attached images shows the group of young adults on the aspiring leaders programme, gathered at Brathay Hall

Modern day Bayeux Tapestry opens in London: 7-18th August 2017

Quaker Tapestry roadshow at The Light, Friends House, Euston Road.
A Free exhibition including workshop, demonstrations and shop.

Quaker Tapestry

Part of the famous Quaker Tapestry, a modern stitched masterpiece in story-telling, is on show at Friends House in London. It was last in the capital over 20 years ago.

Begun in 1981 and completed in 1996, the 77 panels which make up the Quaker Tapestry are the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of embroiderers to another.

Now 20 panels, from their Lake District home – the Arts Council accredited Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal – will form a FREE exhibition accompanied by demonstrations, workshops, audio guides and a shop. It is expected to be of great interest to embroiderers and crafts people.

The design was heavily influenced by the Bayeux Tapestry including the use of three horizontal divisions to tell a story, embroidered outlines for faces and hands and solid infilling of clothing and buildings. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery using woollen yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to the five historic and well-known stitches and techniques of split, stem, chain, Bayeux Point and Peking knot, tapestry founder Anne Wynn-Wilson invented a new cord or rope-like stitch. Known as Quaker stitch it forms the distinctive curved lettering on the panels.

Using these stitches the embroiderers overcame the challenges such as depicting glass windows, New York skyscrapers, reflections in puddles, dramatic perspectives and convincing chains and ropes.

In one panel, the skeletal outline of a weeping tree in winter, with its solid trunk, allows for the bones of a building behind to show through. In another panel Peking knots, used to make leaves, are worked in different tensions to create texture. Glass is achieved using a smooth wool split stitch and other stitches, like Bayeux Point, produce fine, almost translucent clothing.

Each of the colourful tapestry panels measures 25” (635mm) x 21” (533mm).

“Since the dawn of recorded history, craftspeople have used their skills to tell stories” explained Quaker Tapestry Museum manager Bridget Guest.

“Such a record is the Quaker Tapestry. As with the famous Bayeux Tapestry, it is a hanging with a compelling historical narrative, 350 years of social history from a Quaker perspective. A reminder of the contribution these non-conformists have made to the modern world, it is also testament to the imagination and craftsmanship of the global community who made it.”

“These colourful and vibrant tapestry panels will interest people who love embroidery and social history. There are stories about scientists, engineers and ecologists and others. The embroideries also deal with subjects as diverse as prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives” added Bridget.

Described by world traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith as one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see, the travelling roadshow is at the Friends House from Monday 7 August until Friday 18 August.

Since its first public exhibition, the Tapestry has travelled to more than 160 venues in the UK, Europe and America. This year a roadshow went to Taunton in Somerset. Previous London venues include the Royal Festival Hall (1990) and the House of Commons (1991).

For more information visit


Please contact Emma Dewhurst on the details below, or Bridget Guest for further information or images. 01539 814860/722975 or 07580 631604.

YOUNGSTERS are getting a life-changing outdoor experience thanks to funds from three organisations for a new high ropes course.

The Ambleside based youth charity, Brathay Trust secured £15,000 from the Sir John Fisher Foundation, £2,500 from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation and a loan of £27,000 from social investor First Ark to replace its 10 year old course with a brand new one.

The two tiered ropes course, supported on poles and spanning 700 square feet, links to a climbing wall. It offers 250 feet of bi-directional linear challenges to suit a range of abilities.

Kieran Whitby from Kings Leadership Academy in Liverpool was the first to use it when his year nine school group came to Brathay in March for a three day residential. His Brathay tutor, Graham Jones said that although Kieran was unsure at first, he went on to volunteer to lead his group. And, as his confidence grew, he was then able to problem-solve, coach and encourage his peers. Back on the ground the verdict from Kieran was, ‘that it was pretty cool’.

Graham Jones says the high ropes course offers a unique and challenging personal development and team-building experience. Mr Jones said:

“Ropes courses provide an amazing learning experience because they take you right out of your comfort zone even though they are actually very safe. Youngsters discover that they can do things they feel very uncomfortable about. This group of teenagers were looking to gain self-awareness, self-leadership, listening, communication, engagement and contribution skills. Given the technicalities of working the safety system, and the challenges of negotiating the course itself, they also learned about personal responsibility.

“For some young people we work with, who have had a very difficult start in life, the high ropes course can give them a new perspective, including what they are capable of” added Graham Jones.

Brathay works with 7,000 young people a year in the north of England. Many visit Brathay Hall and use the ropes course as part of their learning experience. The new facilities will also be used by apprentices and adults on Brathay’s other development programmes.

The 70 year old charity’s mission is to improve the life chances of children, young people and families by inspiring them to engage positively in their communities. Revenue from Brathay’s People and Organisation Development consultancy, along with enterprising fundraising, support from individuals, businesses and partners, helps to fund this work.

Visitors to the charity’s ‘Go Active Day at Brathay’ on Sunday 21 May will be able to try out the new high ropes course. For more information visit their website.


Notes to editors.
First Ark are funded by Access, Big Society Capital and the Big Lotto