How the world has changed in a short space of time. In these unprecedented times, we hope that you and your families are safe and well. We’re very much thinking about all of our supporters, as you deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on every aspect of your lives – not least economically and socially.

Even in dark times, there are some positive things to celebrate. Across Cumbria, we’ve seen individuals and communities coming together to support each other, with overwhelming responses to appeals for volunteers. People are innovating and embracing technology to stay connected with each other and keep services going as far as possible. We are seeing government working with scientists to help chart a way through.

All of these things show that it is possible for society and systems to adapt to a global challenge collectively. It shows that people can understand and buy into action on big issues. We must ensure that the lessons we learn and the capabilities and insights we gain from tackling this pandemic are also brought to bear in preventing climate change.

For now, however, it is understandable that climate change simply isn’t the priority we would want and need it to be. We have had to take the decision to pause many of our projects for the next few months. Much of our work involves community engagement, which can’t continue at the moment.

We are still here, however, and working behind the scenes, albeit with temporarily reduced staffing. This is a difficult time for CAfS, as it is for many organisations, as we navigate through the implications of the pandemic for our funding and reshape our approach so that CAfS survives this extraordinary period, in order to carry on the fight against climate change when life starts to return to normal.

Our staff capacity will be limited for a couple of months so we need to make a few changes to our communications. We will pause our newsletter for now, and we’ll instead share any important updates with you on our social media, so please do follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Regrettably, we will not be able to respond to general enquiries during this time. If you do have an essential enquiry, please use our office@cafs.org.uk email address and we will reply if we can.

Many of you may want to help with Cumbria’s response to Coronavirus. As we mentioned, it’s been so heartening to see the strong response to appeals for volunteers. Whilst we’re not able to take up offers of volunteer support just now, we may put out a call for help with specific tasks, skills or expertise later. We’ll keep you posted on our social media.

Finally, we’re very conscious that there will be many demands for your support for compelling and urgent causes in the months ahead, but for those who feel able to help, we would greatly welcome any donations you can give, to help ensure we are still able to stand up for a zero carbon Cumbria in the future. You can donate via our website.

Stay safe and we look forward to being back in touch with you before too long.

Best wishes,

Karen Mitchell
Chief Executive Officer