THE FINALISTS of the Caring For the Community Award have been chosen for all of the fantastic work they have done across Cumbria.

Julie Evans, Deborah Earl and Sharon Foden have been shortlisted for doing their bit for the community.

Julie Evans dived straight in to Carlisle-based support group Leave a Light On when the opportunity came up.

Julie’s role is behind the scenes, and on a purely voluntary basis but yet she has put in 24/7 hours when needed.

She was instrumental in managing LALO strongest-willed volunteers — people that came together, but could often clash in their passions to help.

Julie was the first woman who managed ‘the balancing act’, co-ordinating projects and acting as PA to Richard Francis, who started Leave a Light On, whilst he needed to focus on his own employment/studies/family duties.

She said: “It was a bit of a surprise and a bit overwhelming to be nominated!

“Richard started Leave a Light On and I just saw it on Facebook and I thought that I could do some admin at home, I was at home all day on furlough and it just escalated into a great big project where we were helping hundreds and thousands of people.

“Between Richard and I we co-ordinated all of it — we did everything from food and prescription collections, recruiting volunteers, raffles, and the admin side of it.

“It was a big job, but it was very rewarding. It’s a nice feeling.

“It means a lot to be nominated, I’m more of a background person than upfront, so I was quite overwhelmed and very emotional. It was just really lovely.”

Cumbria County Councillor Deborah Earl volunteered her time alongside the Old Hall Cafe, Carlisle, to support the masses throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the Covid Pandemic, she helped the community including her daughter by looking after her children so she could work as an NHS frontline worker by delivering thousands of free hot meals/food parcels to the front door of children and families of Petteril Bank School.

She went to pick up prescriptions and dropped shopping off for the elderly.

She also had involvement in a Covid support group/campaign to help and support people who were struggling during the pandemic.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted, it was completely out of the blue!

“My daughter nominated me which was a complete surprise. That makes it even nicer that my own daughter would take the time to do that.

“I just did what needed to be done.

“When the first lockdown happened and the schools closed, we decided to carry on taking the school lunches that the kids would have normally had to their doorsteps — we did that over 16 weeks and there were more than 7,500 meals taken right to the doorstep so that the young children could still have their school lunch.

“We had an emergency food bank as well, we were delivering food parcels. I just did my bit for the community.

“And in the second and third lockdown we did meals for pensioners, too. They were really lonely.

“It wasn’t just the food, it was more the knock on the door.”

Four years ago, director and founder of Community Hub Kitchen in Barrow, Sharon Foden, set up the volunteer-run kitchen hub that now feeds more than 200 people a week.

She joined with other charities to put together a network of food drops to those in need in her area.

The hub is a place open for everyone if they have suffered benefit sanctions, are on low income, bored or are isolated.

The volunteers at the hub also offer many classes which will be available for people to join from drama, singing, arts and crafts and more.

The hub offers a space of listening where you can talk about your skills or any talents you would like to share or teach.

The hub holds regular events throughout the year.

To find out the winner of this category and all the other Pride of Cumbria Award winners make sure you tune in to out virtual event on July 29 at 7pm by visiting