Cumbrians are coming together for Carlisle’s annual festival of generosity.

Give a Day to the City sees hundreds of people and dozens of businesses and other organisations giving time and resources for good causes.

This is the fifth Give a Day. It starts this Sunday and continues until the following Saturday.

Projects include litter picks, tidying gardens and paths, and taking boxes of pampering treats to care home residents.

Among the most ambitious schemes are the creation of a bike track in Raffles and sprucing up Portland Square gardens in the city centre.

Give a Day was founded by Denton Holme-based Carlisle Vineyard Church, whose team still organises the event.

Pastor Andy Fearon says: “In the first year we had about 12 projects and 200 volunteers.

“Since then there have been more than 2,000 volunteers and nearly 100 projects. There are 43 projects this year. It’s big and small and anything in between.

“Part of me feels surprised that we’re still going. You think ‘Are we going to run out of generosity?’

“Actually, the opposite is true. People that have been connected in the past seem to want to be involved again. And be involved more.

“It’s not a new idea. People have been giving a day for generations. People have been looking out for friends and neighbours, serving the city.

“We didn’t come up with volunteering. It’s like we’ve just tapped into the reservoir of generosity. If reservoirs don’t have an outlet they just get stagnant.”

Carlisle College is among the most supportive organisations. Last year more than 150 staff took part in 10 projects as part of training days.

A similar number is expected to be involved this time around, in projects including brightening up the pedestrian underpass at Kingmoor with artwork.

Andrew Dodds, the college’s director of business development and marketing, says: “We are delighted to be involved in Give a Day again this year and are co-ordinating eight projects which are set to benefit hundreds across the city.

“Give a Day provides a fantastic opportunity for the college to give back to the local community. Colleagues have really enjoyed taking part and seeing the difference their generosity can make.

“It also provides a great way for the college to develop further links with local businesses and organisations to the benefit of our students, such as providing opportunities for work experience and student projects.”

Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council are among the other public bodies which have employees taking part.

Dozens of companies support Give a Day, including Thomas Graham, Clark Doors, Eco-Tech Systems, DSD, Kingmoor Consulting, Story Construction and Story Homes.

Story staff have already taken off old wallpaper and plaster from Carlisle Key’s new properties in the city centre.

Carlisle Key is a charity for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The bike track at Heysham Park, Raffles, is one of many examples of companies working together.

The surface is supplied by plastic roads company MacRebur. It will be put down by DSD Construction.

Hundreds of children are taking part in Give a Day projects, from schools including Trinity, Robert Ferguson and Petteril Bank.

Joseph Askew, headteacher of Petteril Bank School, said: “Give a Day is a great opportunity to love the city and also to be loved by the city.

“We have really appreciated the support we have received with projects to develop our grounds.

“Even more importantly, Give a Day helps our children to learn and practice what it means to be a citizen, caring for those that they know and those that they don’t know.

“This helps them have a sense of belonging and of responsibility to use what skills they have for the benefit of others.

“We see Give a Day as a core part of our vision as a school and would like to see the links grow year on year.”

Some Give a Day projects still have room for more volunteers. To sign up visit