The winners have been named in the Local Business Charity Awards (Cumbria).

It is the first year that the awards have been held in Cumbria, and they are growing in popularity in counties in the UK.

Five counties now hold the awards, and it is hoped to expand it further. The awards will be an annual event in Cumbria, and will be held again next year.

The aim of the awards is to highlight and reward work not only carried out by charities, but also the help and support they receive from local businesses.

Thursday night's event, attended by over 60 people, including Mrs Claire Hensman, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, was held at Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust near Penrith and was hosted by BBC Radio Cumbria presenter Ben Maeder.

The winner of the Jelf Award, open to nominations from charities with an annual income of over £200,000 a year, was The Cumberland. The building society was nominated by Eden Valley Hospice for their support, from fundraising and taking part in fun ‘colour runs’ to providing in-house training to hospice retail volunteers and helping with their Home Money Box scheme. Eden Valley will receive a £1,000 donation.

The Cumbrian Award, open to nominations from charities with an annual income of under £200,000 a year, was won by Reach Out Support Ltd. Reach Out Support was nominated by Triple A Project in recognition of their help in launching and running ‘Positive Pals’, a social group for people with Autism in Carlisle. Triple A Project will receive a donation of £1,000.

The Individual Award which recognised the efforts of people from local businesses for their support of a local charity, was won by Joanne Brown of LLWR Ltd, nominated by Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

Sadly Joanne lost her husband to cancer in 2017 but has continued to work tirelessly to support Hospice at Home West Cumbria ever since. She launched the ‘Be Your Own Hero’ and ‘Bags of Sunshine’ campaigns and has in total raised over £20,000 for the charity. Joanne won a weekend away worth £300 and was presented with her very own ‘Bag of Sunshine’ as a gift from award organisers.

The theme for Thursday night was ‘The Best of Cumbria’, with local butcher, Jackson’s in Penrith serving a hog roast; in keeping with tradition only food ‘grown, sown, harvested and reared’ in the county was served.

Mark Daley, regional director of sponsor Jelf said: "I am sure I speak for my fellow judges when I say that tonight we were proud to be Cumbrian. Our thanks to Annie and the Sunbeams Music Troupe for their outstanding performance and to all who attended the awards.

"It was an absolute privilege reading the nominations for the Local Business Charity Awards (Cumbria). We were reminded that not only are there some pressing issues still in Cumbria, but also that there are some very special people and companies, working hard behind the scenes to make life better for others. We salute you for your efforts, for your altruism and for the example you set for us all; we are lucky to have you living in our county and we thank you for your contribution to the wider Cumbrian society."

He added: "As you would expect, it was very hard to find a winner for each award, we hope you feel that simply by being nominated your work has been recognised and appreciated. We send our hearty congratulations to the winners on their magnificent efforts and urge them to carry on the good work."

The judges for the Local Business Charity Awards (Cumbria) were Adam Naylor MBE, trustee of the Cumbrian Community Foundation; Claire Hensman, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria; Mark Daley, Regional Director, Jelf; Paul Williamson, associate editor of the Times & Star and the Whitehaven News; and Rory Stewart MP (Penrith & The Border).

The Local Business Charity Awards were founded in 2014 and are now held in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Charities and businesses may continue to list themselves on the free ‘Support A Local Charity’ page, which aims to match businesses and charities in Cumbria in a skills and needs swap.