By this time next week it will be all over bar the shouting, acrimony, bitter separation and bleary-eyed victory/defeat hangovers. So, pretty much as we were then.

Over, as in this fury-fuelled election campaign, not as in life as we know it. Living, in its old familiar form will go on much as it ever did. And in Cumbria, no matter who wins what for whichever party, that’s not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.

According to Cumbria Community Foundation’s latest report, we’re fooling ourselves if we buy into the healthy, wealthy, picture postcard image of our county – the one so dearly loved by visitors, tourists and yes, some politicians who couldn’t point us out on a map even should the keys to Number 10 rely on accuracy.

The study “Cumbria Revealed – a county of contrasts” makes distressing reading. Here one person takes their own life every week; one in 10 households lives in poverty – including 11,700 children; one in eight households have an income of less than £10,000 a year; 34,000 people suffer depression… and so it goes on.

Anne Pickles Says Andy Beeforth, the foundation’s chief executive: “Some of our communities are facing real poverty and disadvantage. The report shines a light on the social problems which lie in the shadows of the mountains that the county is famous for.”

He goes on: “For many people, living in Cumbria is not an idyll. It is challenging and difficult.”

He can say that again – and probably will. The problems here, exacerbated by geography, topography and a tiny population, have existed for a very long time and will no doubt continue for many years to come, no matter who runs the country this time next week.

The Community Foundation’s raison d’etre is to encourage, engender and promote philanthropy – that famously recognised community spirit and innate kindness which exists among people willing and able to make a difference to the lives of people who can afford to offer neither.

Long may that willingness flourish. Where on earth would we be without it? But we should beware of becoming victims of our own generously earned success. Whatever the outcome of next Thursday’s poll, we can’t allow our county to fall back into its default position of forgotten, dismissed, dispensable and overlooked.

Not for a moment would I urge anyone to vote one way or another. Neither will I fall to temptation of revealing here any of my own intentions. There’s a week to go yet and anything could happen to change this tiny mind.

I’d only plead that you do it. Whoever you favour, whatever your political allegiance, however you choose to gamble on promises which – wherever they come from, run equal chance of being broken – just do it.

And, when it’s all over bar the shouting; when the world and his wife are done with saying they told you so; when the oh-so-clever commentators and armchair analysts have shut up, in denial of having said anything of the sort – do one more thing.

Make a resolution to hold the victors to account. Determine to drag Cumbria out from the shadows and keep it under their noses until they afford us the same attention on offer elsewhere.

Don’t let’s allow ourselves to be forgotten again. We’re well known for rolling up our sleeves and getting on with things as best we can, with compassion and grit. But we need more than our own voluntary efforts – we deserve more.

When the big guns have finished with their wooing, they’ll be happy to leave us to fight alone on all fronts – if we let them. According to the report, Cumbria has around 6,000 charities, community and voluntary groups contributing £400m to the economy and employing the equivalent of 9,000 people full-time.

That’s marvellous. But not enough. We know it, the politicos know it – though they’ll do their best to turn from it.

So, when it’s all over next week and life goes back to something approaching normal, let’s try to shake off the no-great-shakes that represents us by making the elected keep their pledges.

In the meantime, please… just vote.

We can’t allow our county to fall back into its default position of dismissed, dispensable and overlooked