CLUB: Major new community project to celebrate the legacy of Carlisle United

In what is an important anniversary year for Carlisle United – 50 years since achieving promotion to the First Division for the 1974-75 season – the club has received a £95,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project that will see them work with Tullie, Carlisle United Community Sports Trust, University of Cumbria and Cumberland Council to celebrate and preserve the club’s legacy.

The project, entitled “Be Just and Fear Not”: Celebrating our Club and Supporting our Community aims to better document and share the club's history and expand its reach to new and diverse audiences through a programme of community engagement. 

"Be Just and Fear Not”, made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will bring a huge programme of activity including school workshops, community wellbeing activities, youth programming and a museum exhibition. A co-curated exhibition celebrating the history of the club will open at Tullie in July with content development support coming from University of Cumbria Film & Television students. This will be the first exhibition at the museum once it reopens after redevelopment work. From October, a pop-up version of the exhibition will tour to local venues and a permanent display of objects will be exhibited at Brunton Park.

As part of the project, the club will be doing a major review of their on-site archive that will form the basis of the exhibition. Over the years Carlisle United fans have contributed a wealth of memorabilia including photographs, programmes, newspaper cuttings, medals, video recordings and football shirts. But these items need to be properly catalogued and made accessible to the community for now and for generations to come. 

The partnership will recruit a Project Curator to support the programme. Their role will be to: 

  • carry out an archive audit
  • devise a catalogue system
  • digitise content
  • procure appropriate storage materials
  • relocate material to a safe and stable environment within the grounds.

The Project Curator and the team will also upskill volunteers to continue to care for and grow the archive after the project is complete. Further support will come from Cumbria Archives and the National Football Museum, the latter providing guidance on developing and maintaining a football heritage archive. This post will be advertised by the partnership in the very near future. The partners will also be doing a call out for volunteers to join the Carlisle United Collective – a group of volunteers who will help the team shape the development of the project. For more details about this exciting opportunity please contact us via email at

Nigel Clibbens, CEO of Carlisle United Football Club: “This is going to be a fantastic project. The club is at the heart of the community and the life of so many people over many, many generations. It is a very special and important institution and sharing and preserving its history and heritage will be very special.”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we are delighted to support this project that will work with local people and partners to explore and share Carlisle Football Club’s rich history, preserving the city’s sporting heritage for years to come. We know that heritage can play a huge role in bringing people together, creating a sense of pride in local communities, and this project is sure to do just that.”

Anna Smalley, Head of Collections and Engagement at Tullie: 'We are incredibly proud to be part of this project – the Club is a real institution within the city and the community, and we are excited to be able to help tell their unique story.’

Councillor Anne Quilter, Cumberland Council’s Executive Member for Vibrant and Health Places, said: “Our area has a rich sporting history and we are delighted to support this showcase of one of our most successful clubs. The programme to accompany the exhibition will include something for all ages to enjoy and take part in.”

Funding and Partners

This project is funded by the generous support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Carlisle United Football Club, Cumberland Council and Tullie. 

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