FIVE "inspiring individuals" have won a ticket to research "important topical issues" around the world.

They are among 150 people from across the country to be awarded Churchill Fellowships worth more than £32,000 by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

Mary Houston, of the Growing Well mental health charity and organic farm based at Low Sizergh, near Kendal, is among the recipients.

She will travel to Norway, the Netherlands and the USA to glean fresh insights into farm-based mental health services. Once back in Kendal, she hopes to develop new approaches to supporting people with mental health problems.

Mary tweeted her good news on International Women's Day, telling her Twitter followers she had a "grant in the bag and the world at my feet", and thanking everyone for the opportunity.

Ruth Leahy, an economic development project officer for South Lakeland District Council, will also be heading off to the USA. Ruth, of Bowston, hopes to find ways to encourage more young people to live and work in the countryside.

Jo Rhodes is a director of Settle Community and Business Hub, a not-for-profit meeting place in the Dales town. She will be looking at "rural time banking schemes" in Pembrokeshire and the USA, where the unit of "currency" is the time someone spends on an activity.

Meanwhile, Lois Mansfield, a lecturer from Kirkby Stephen, is Japan-bound to discover ways of helping struggling upland economies.

Churchill Fellowships were set up on the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 as a national tribute and living legacy for his leadership. They are awarded by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

"Churchill Fellows are inspiring individuals who scour the world for fresh approaches to today’s crucial issues,” said Julia Weston, chief executive of the trust.

“It’s a unique chance to make change happen, and every UK citizen over the age of 18 can apply. The next round of applications will open on May 16, 2019.”

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