This mapping exercise was carried out in 2019 as part of the Cumbria Social Enterprise Networking & Support Programme funded by Cumbria County Council.

The aim of the mapping exercise was to get a clearer idea of the extent of the social enterprise sector in Cumbria and the impact it has within the county. It was divided into two parts:

  • To identify the number of social enterprise organisations based in Cumbria, segmented according to the county district they are registered in and also the primary sector they operate in.

A more intensive survey was also carried out with 50 social enterprise organisations, in order to assess the impact the sector has on the county (these organisations were chosen as a representative sample of the total, in terms of size, sector and geographical location) and  data collected included:

  • Income
  • Number of employees
  • Number of volunteers

 Key Findings

The key findings were that social enterprises operating within the county:

  • contribute over £450m to the local economy
  • provide over 9,000 jobs with over 70% of employees being female
  • involve over 15,000 volunteers
  • trade in a variety of sectors, but most significantly in health and social care and community related services

The last known mapping exercise of the sector within Cumbria was carried out for CSEP in 2008.  The most significant difference between the findings of this survey to the 2008 survey is the increase in the number of social enterprises now operating within the county, with almost a 50% increase in numbers.  There is also a significant increase in organisations operating within South Lakeland district.

District No. of social enterprises
No. of social enterprises 2008 % increase from 2008 to 2019 % split
in 2019
% split
in 2008
Allerdale 233 154 51% 21% 21%
Barrow 77 46 67% 7% 6%
Carlisle 198 138 43% 18% 18%
Copeland 126 82 54% 11% 11%
Eden 205 181 13% 19% 24%
South Lakeland 264 150 76% 24% 20%
Total 1103 751 47% 100% 100%