West Copeland Partnership – ‘West Copeland Lengthsmen’

The project was to continue to deliver a community service in participating parishes (Egremont; St Bees; Haile and Wilton and Beckermet/Thornhill) by employing local people (parish environmental worker and one apprentice) to deliver a wide range of environmental activities within the areas of benefit.

The project supports local environmental schemes and encourages community participation in improving the local environment whilst creating volunteering and upskilling opportunities.   The project is supported through volunteer involvement and the value of this is significant.

Groups who have engaged with the lengthsmen who deliver the scheme have included:

  • Egremont Youth Partnership
  • West Lakes Academy
  • St Bees Community Service Group
  • St Bees in Bloom Group
  • Primary Schools located in each Parish
  • Age UK West Cumbria
  • De Lucy Centre, Egremont
  • Friends of Egremont Castle
  • Calderwood House

Chris Pickles, a former Community Regeneration Officer at Copeland Borough Council who coordinated the project said, “Parish surveys and locality plans showed that one of the main aspirations within local communities is to improve their local environment and the visible appearance of their area.  It has also been shown this kind of work has a powerful effect in enabling people to take pride in their area and taking responsibility for its upkeep.  In addition, the project supported employment in rural areas and ensure that the participating parishes become better places to live and work.  This in turn is helping to train a new generation of community organisers and support the creation of neighbourhood groups, especially in the most deprived areas, to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live.”

Chris added, “The use of a Parish Environmental worker has shown to make a real difference to the Parishes in which they operate. The Parish Environmental Worker has been noted for taking pride in the work he undertakes and the flexibility in service.”

Some of the upskilling and volunteering activities recently undertaken through the scheme include:

  • Cookery demonstrations using locally sourced ingredients
  • A Willow Weaving Workshop using natural materials sourced locally
  • A Christmas Wreath Workshop using locally sourced materials
  • Community Litter Picks in partnership with local groups including Woodend & District WI
  • Daffodil Planting at St Bees with local school children and community volunteers


Comments from local residents include:

“Please mention to the lengthsmen our appreciation of the work done in the castle grounds over the last year. It always looks immaculate.”

“Please thank the lengthsmen for a job well done on Stonehouse Garden & Bridge Garden in St Bees.”

“I would like to congratulate the lengthsmen on how good the Castle Grounds are looking.”


  • 2 Full Time Jobs Created/Safeguarded
  • 5 hectares of Open Space improved
  • 75 new Volunteering Opportunities
  • 60 Local People assisted in their Skills Development


  • Improved local environment in West Copeland through community involvement
  • Increase in the number of volunteers actively involved in practical environmental projects
  • Increase in the number of volunteers being up-skilled on environmental related issues
  • Strong partnerships between parishes and external organisations

This was a continuation project that was initially supported with £37,500 from Copeland Community Fund from April 2012 – July 2015.

Additional funds for the project came from West Copeland Partnership, Leconfield Estates and West Copeland Parishes.

Project Images