A WHITEHAVEN charity which lost a major contract to deliver child and family support services is appealing for new trustees to help shape its future.

Last year Cumbria County Council made the shock announcement that a London-based charity would take over from Copeland’s Howgill Family Centre.

A petition urging councillors to re-think their ruling and safeguard the charity’s role had garnered more than 3,000 signatures.

But services in Copeland are all due to be handed over to London-based Family Action.

And now Howgill is appealing for volunteers to come forward as trustees.

The charity said: “Howgill has recently lost the Cumbria County Council contract for early help and running children’s centres so we’ll be based from January 2020 in Cleator Moor, Whitehaven, Mirehouse and Kells.

“We have over 30 members of staff.

“Building up the charity will be a priority as we move forward.”

Howgill is looking at recruiting trustees to broaden the range of skills on its board.

In particular they are looking for people with skills relevant to early years, business, PR, health and safety and marketing.

“Experience, expertise and enthusiasm are what we are looking for.

“Having an open mind, a willingness to pitch in wherever needed and a positive attitude will help you make a contribution to Howgill.

“The rewards are the satisfaction of overseeing an organisation that is making a positive difference to the lives of thousands of children and families in the area, many of whom are disadvantaged or vulnerable,” added the charity.

Howgill was established in the 1970s and has served Copeland for more than 40 years.

For more information on becoming a trustee, call Brenda Holden on 01946 817900 or email info@howgill-centre.co.uk.

Barnardo’s, which held four of the six Cumbrian contracts for child and family support services, has lost all bar one, in Eden.

Services in Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and Barrow are all due to be handed over to Family Action. Action for Children, which previously had Barrow, was offered the South Lakes contract.