History of social enterprises in Alston Moor

Alston Moor is a rural community in North Cumbria with a population of 2,090. We have a strong identity, deriving both from our mining and farming background, as well as our relative isolation. The nearest service town is 20+ miles, to which there is no public transport and in winter, bad weather often means that parts of our community are cut off for days sometimes weeks. Over the years, many of our key services have been cut and because of our small population and isolation, businesses struggle to survive. These issues have in effect become our community’s driving force stimulating a strong sense of self help and entrepreneurship.

Current social enterprise landscape in Alston Moor

We have a diverse range of social enterprises and community owned businesses, delivering services from retail, broadband, transport, leisure, tourism, community services; most of which would otherwise not be accessible by local people. The sector has a combined annual turnover of around £1.5M and employs around 50 people, with a further 250 volunteers also contributing to the running of the various enterprises. This equals one social enterprise per 55 households. In economic terms of ‘added value’ to the whole community, all employ predominantly local labour, who in turn spend a significant proportion of their income locally.

Key objectives

1. To promote and ensure we make the most of our Social Enterprise Town status.

2. To form a local Action Group made up of key stakeholders to achieve this.

3. To carry out some formal research to properly measure the impact the sector makes to our community.

Stakeholders in steering group

Cybermoor Community Broadband, Alston Moor Partnership, Alston Moor Parish Council, Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, Cumbria County Council, The Moody Baker Co-operative, Nenthead Community Shop, The HUB Heritage Museum, Alston Healthcare.

We have run successful ‘Social Enterprise Safaris’ for a number of years now and have even hosted groups from British Council delegations visiting from China.

Contact details

Sue Gilbertson
c/o Alston Town Hall

Front Street





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