Alston Moor, Social Enterprise Town Award Winner, Hosts Visit from the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government)



Alston Moor, recent winners of the first ever Social Enterprise Town of the Year award, this month hosted a visit from local MP Rory Stewart, and Anton Draper and Chrissie Farrugia from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Nominated for the award by the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, Alston Moor beat off strong competition from the other shortlisted towns of Grimsby, Blackpool, Tiree and Walsall & The Black Country.

Alston Moor is home to many social enterprises that aim to provide a better quality of life for its residents, delivering retail, broadband, transport, leisure and tourism services, many of which would otherwise not be accessible by local people if they did not exist.

Pictured left to right at Alston’s South Tynedale Railway

Chrissie Farrugia, DCLG; Sonia Kempsey, Alston Moor Partnership; Rob Randell, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership; Sue Gilbertson, Cybermoor; Anton Draper, DCLG; Tom Bell & Richard Graham, South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society.

On the tour Anton Draper and Chrissie Farrugia from the DCLG visited a number of social enterprises, including:

South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society – a tourist focused social enterprise, which runs England’s highest narrow gauge railway attracting over 40,000 visitors each year.

Alston Wholefoods and the Moody Baker – two workers co-operatives in the town. The Moody Baker will celebrate its 11th year in business on 14th February. The Moody Baker delivers orders to customers in Penrith 20 miles away, collects food produce for the local schools, residential home and fellow co-operative Alston Wholefoods.

The new fibre optic communications room for Cybermoor, the innovative community owned broadband co-operative based in Alston Town Hall.

The group also met community champions from the neighbouring village of Nenthead, who re-opened their local shop as a community owned business, are running their public toilets, play area and a snow plough. The community are currently working on a new project to buy and renovate a disused Methodist Chapel in the village centre to turn it into a venue for community and business uses.

Rory Stewart MP congratulated the community on its successes:

“Alston Moor is a very innovative place and with community enterprises like Cybermoor thriving, it is not somewhere which is languishing in the past, but somewhere which is a vanguard and an example for the rest of the country.”

What next for Alston Moor?

With funding from Eden District Council’s Rural Infrastructure Fund, Alston Moor Partnership (a group of organisations, businesses and individuals on Alston Moor) will be concentrating on marketing, community engagement and seeking funding for Alston’s Conservation Area. Projects on green energy and transport are also in the pipeline.

The town has also been successful in its bid to become a Town Team partner which will open up further funding opportunities for Alston to re-invigorate its town centre.

Find out about My Community Rights

 The DCLG has the leading role within Government for setting the agenda for decentralisaiton and localism. It aims to put people back in charge of their lives, businesses and councils back in charge of economic growth and town halls back in charge of local affairs. The DCLG funds The Community Rights support service to help communities achieve this vision.

For more information visit http://mycommunityrights.org.uk




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