COMMUNITY support groups are the backbone of society.

The Pride of Cumbria Awards saw hundreds of nominations put forward for the Community Group of the Year category.

Here we spoke to the three finalists ahead of the winner being unveiled at a prestigious ceremony on July 29.

The three amazing organisations who have been doing their bit to help the community All operate with the help of volunteers.

Paul Bryce, of Stay Safe Carlisle, said: “We’ve been very fortunate.

“We do what we do because we have a big passion for helping Carlisle.”

Since the pandemic began they have been operating a food bank and handing out goodie bags.

The foodbank is open every Sunday and allows for vulnerable people to come and pick up essentials for the week.

They now help 150 families per week.

The group has been receiving a lot of acknowledgement for its great work as they have also recently been given an award by the High Sherriff of Cumbria.

They have also done a lot to help the homeless people in the area to try to get them into housing.

Along with helping those who are very much in need Stay Safe Carlisle have also done some other kind acts of generosity.

Including donating Easter eggs to local schools to ensure that more children would be able to enjoy the occasion.

Due to the popularity of the work Mr Bryce and his team are doing they are beginning to expand out of Carlisle and move their operation to the surrounding areas.

Mr Bryce added: “We love what we do and like the fact that we are able to help families.

“Myself and all our volunteers are overwhelmed to be nominated.

“We didn’t realise what an honour it would be to make it as a finalist in these awards.”

Another nominee was Carlisle Community Help who started when the pandemic began.

Initially they were a group who would collect and deliver people’s shopping and prescriptions.

But now, over a year on, they have opened several food hubs across the city where people can purchase affordable food packages.

Lisa Brown, of Carlisle Community Help, said: “It’s amazing really that the volunteers work is being recognised.

“We’re so pleased that we’ve helped so many people in such a strange and hard time.”

For people to get involved with this service they must pay a small fee weekly.

The fee starts at £6 for an individual, £8 for a small family with two children and £10 for a larger family with four children.

They will then receive either twenty five, thirty five or forty five credits.

Which will then allow them to receive a suitable food package from one of their teams hubs.

This was then equally divided amongst all involved ensuring that Carlisle Community Help and groups like them can carry on giving a helping hand to the community.

Mrs. Brown said: “We’re so happy that we are getting recognition for all of the schemes that we’ve done.

“None of this would have been possible without the commitment of our volunteers who have been there to help the community throughout the pandemic.”

The final nominee was Dalton Community Action Group (DCAG) who launched at the beginning of the pandemic.

They’ve helped people across Dalton by delivering food and prescriptions whilst people were isolating.

Along with a foodbank where they provide people with donated food items.

David Taylor, the group’s Chairman said: “It’s an honour to be nominated but the whole town deserves to be rewarded.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of the people, it’s bringing us all closer together.”

The group started as a small idea amongst a group of personal friends but has since spanned through social media with over a thousand people now involved.

DCAG have done everything to help people and lift their mood during the pandemic and their work has not gone unnoticed.