Paul Simpson has paid tribute to the long-standing sponsors of Carlisle United's community ticket scheme after a sponsorship deal was extended.

The Cumberland building society have agreed a new two-year deal to support the ticket scheme and sponsor Brunton Park's community stand.

It continues their support for the scheme that sees thousands of children watch the Blues for free each season.

And manager Simpson said he was delighted to see the scheme receive such backing.

“When I came to the club in February I spoke about how important it is for the community to feel part of everything we do, and I can’t thank The Cumberland enough for what is a brilliant example of that with their community stand and ticket scheme," he said.

“This not only gives youngsters a chance to come to a game, when they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise do so, but it also fosters fans of the future, which is so important.

“I know the Cumberland are huge supporters of the club and it’s always good for us to see successful local businesses and companies giving their support, particularly when, like this, it’s for the benefit of so many people.”

The Cumberland have sponsored the scheme for 12 years, having also sponsored the stand for nine years.

The schools and community ticket scheme provides primary schools and community groups with up to 300 free tickets for home football matches during the season.

Debbie Huddart, commercial sales manager at Carlisle United, added: “We are proud to further consolidate our partnership with this new agreement, and we look forward to enjoying many successful years ahead.”

Andrew Gordon, business development manager at The Cumberland, added: “We are delighted to extend our support for the club with this continued sponsorship deal, which will allow both ourselves and the club to strengthen our relationships with the local community.

“By sponsoring the Community Ticket Scheme we are able to provide hundreds of free tickets to local primary schools and community groups in the area and help the club to develop its next generation of fans.

“In terms of the Community Ticket Scheme, we do a lot of work with schools as part of our own community outreach programme and that has been enhanced by being able to link up with the club to provide this unique match day experience.”