A new £2.2m programme to help transform west Cumbria has been launched by Sellafield.

The company’s social impact programme has been refreshed and relaunched as Six – social impact multiplied, and the first raft of funding is ready to be released.

Its first investment will be Transforming West Cumbria, a £2.2m fund to help west Cumbria’s most vulnerable communities.

Among the initiatives are:

  • A £1.3m fund for community and voluntary groups
  • £660,000 to support families
  • £175,000 to fund financial education
  • Schemes to nurture young entrepreneurs
  • A drive to make community activism the norm for young people

Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) are funding the initiative, which will be delivered by the Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF).

It aims to put local people in charge of their own futures by empowering neighbourhoods to create transformational change.

Gary McKeating, Sellafield Ltd’s head of community and development, said: “I believe Transforming West Cumbria can create profound and long-lasting change in our community.

“It will laser focus on the causes of inequality and confront the issues holding back our most vulnerable.

“Research tells us people from poorer backgrounds are not lacking in ambition. What’s missing is the knowledge, skills, and characteristics required to achieve those ambitions.

“Transforming West Cumbria is a package of tailored support to address this.

“It’s not about telling people what’s best for them. It’s about giving communities the tools to be independent, self-reliant, and successful in the long-term.”

Andy Beeforth, chief executive officer of CCF, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with Sellafield Ltd and we are proud to be a partner on this programme.

“Community and voluntary organisations play a crucial role in helping us understand the needs of our local people and Transforming West Cumbria will enable this understanding to be used to tackle some key challenges in our area.

“By working together and focusing our efforts, we will help create thriving communities and a better future for West Cumbria.”

“The programme will significantly invest in community projects that build the capabilities and financial sustainability of critical organisations, inspire and encourage new and existing social entrepreneurs and help children, young people and families to thrive by building resilience and self-efficacy."

Some of the projects which will benefit from funding will aim to empower leaders of community organisations with skills, resource, and time to invest in business strategy and development; support businesses to explore new ways of working; provide grants to support social or environmental action projects designed by young people, for the benefit of their communities; provide young people (10–25 years) from disadvantaged backgrounds in west Cumbria with the opportunity to have their ideas and ambitions heard and the potential to have them realised.