Cumbria Community Foundation CEO Andy Beeforth tells us why fostering the next generation of social entrepreneurs is vital

This month I’m offering a movie recommendation. If you enjoy films like The Full Monty, Brassed Off and Billy Elliot, I strongly encourage you to search out the film ‘Bank of Dave’, currently number one in the UK on Netflix. It contains, at its heart, the true story of Dave Fishwick, Burnley’s self-made minibus mogul and the driving force behind a mission to create the UK’s first new retail bank in over 150 years.

Dave grew his business from nothing to become the biggest provider of vans and minibuses in the UK. His success resulted in people asking him for financial help, people who weren’t able to access traditional loan finance from banks. His experience was refreshing, all the people he lent money to paid it back and with interest. The Burnley Savings and Loans Company is trading today and redirects its profits to local charities.

The film has a great ‘feel good’ sense to it with so many messages that resonate with me. I love to see successful people giving others a hand-up, I love the fact that locally generated money is being recycled back into local homes and businesses. There’s genuine leadership and a commitment to place.

Dave is clearly a Burnley lad and that’s where he’s focusing his energy and time. The decision to direct profits to local charities is the icing on the cake for me, the decision by a local business person that one of their business ventures will have a social purpose. I’m delighted to say that we have a very special event coming up in June where we will be bringing Dave to Cumbria to share his story. I’m sure he won’t disappoint.  

Sticking with the theme of business creation, with the support of Sellafield Limited, a host of match funders and the Centre for Leadership Performance, the Community Foundation has brought into West Cumbria a new programme to foster the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Positive Enterprise is a competition open to young people aged between 14 and 25 with a prize of £1,000 to back new social enterprise business ideas. Nine young people and their ideas have been backed. Together, they’ll attend seminars and workshops to develop their business ideas and also be matched with a business mentor. The competition was launched in November 2022 and Solomons Europe hosted the first event in early February. I’m really excited to write about their enterprising ideas in future issues.  

The vital role of Mountain Rescue Teams in Cumbria is well known to most of us. Normally we hear about teams leading feckless, ill prepared, people down off the hill without maps or proper clothing. This month I learnt of the story of fell runner Tommy Price and the role Keswick Mountain Rescue team played in saving his life. 

Tommy suffered severe hypothermia and cardiac arrest on Blencathra. When he was found by the rescue volunteers his body temperature had dropped to 18 degrees centigrade and his heart had stopped. His life was saved by a combination of volunteers supplying CPR on the hill for an hour before he was transported by helicopter to the RVI in Newcastle where a specialist team used equipment to raise his body temperature and restart his heart. After four and a half days in a coma Tommy woke up, not knowing where he’d been or what had happened. 

I find the story truly inspirational, that a group of local volunteers have developed such incredible skills that they were able to save the life of someone who must have only been minutes away from death. Tommy’s family are fundraising in support of the Mountain Rescue team and if you’re inspired like me, I suggest you visit