SELLAFIELD has awarded £600,000 in grants to six projects aimed at helping families in west Cumbria.

The first round of grants was awarded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact multiplied programme, Transforming West Cumbria, which has been developed by Cumbria Community Foundation.

Part of the programme is the Family Wellbeing Scheme, which offers up to £50,000 a year for three years to projects that work for the benefit of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families in west Cumbria.

Last week, a panel considered applications submitted under the programme and awarded £600,000 in grants that will help deliver six projects over the next three years. The difference made by these projects will be measured and evaluated.

The projects include:

n Groundwork North East and Cumbria/iCan be HAPPY - They will work with iCan Health & Fitness CIC and engage with the most difficult to reach families by designing a programme that is fun, positive, interactive and based on the types of support and activities parents want. The programme will help parents to find ways of feeling happier and to learn more positive ways of doing things, which in turn will have a positive impact on their children.

n Safety Net (UK)/Whole Family Approach to Tackling Domestic and Sexual Abuse - They'll employ a specialist children and young people’s practitioner to work with families who've experienced domestic or sexual abuse. The practitioner will provide training to parents and carers in play therapy techniques to offer therapeutic intervention and then provide supervision and guidance as families begin to navigate and resolve challenges.

n Howgill Family Centre/Early Years Parental engagement - They will develop a centre of excellence for speech and language development in the earliest years, from 0 – 4 for disadvantaged children who are not reaching the standard level of development.

n Time to Change West Cumbria/family court support officer & McKenzie Friend - They’ll employ a family court support officer, based at the Women Out West Centre, who will also train as a McKenzie Friend, ensuring vulnerable women and their children get the moral and administrative support they need in court.

n Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS)/targeted, in-depth substance use support for affected families - CADAS will attach a trained drug/alcohol coach to targeted families where substance use is known in the parents for a substantial period of time. Support given to the families will vary dependent on their specific needs.

n Together We CIC/Together We Improve Family Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience - They'll deliver six weeks of group emotional resilience and physical activity sessions in Whitehaven area schools.for children aged 4-11 years old. The sessions are designed to help children to further develop emotional literacy whilst developing knowledge of coping skills such as using physical activity for mental health

n Barnardo’s / Barnardo’s Think Family project - They’ll support children 0-5 years in Copeland identified through the Child Centred Policing Hub as needing intense support around emotional resilience, development, obesity and financial hardship. For 12 weeks, the family will take part in 2 direct work sessions per week that have been tailored to their needs and issues.

Head of community and development at Sellafield Ltd, Gary McKeating said: “Transforming West Cumbria is the perfect demonstration of our social impact multiplied programme. It was co-created with the Cumbria Community Foundation and is designed to help make a real and sustainable difference in tackling some of the issues that we know people in our local communities are living with.”

“I am delighted that the Foundation team have been able to organise the grant application process and award grants so quickly and look forward to seeing the progress made by the successful projects.”