A new social enterprise fund has been created for Barrow, with a sizeable investment by BAE Systems.

The company is donating £60,000 to organisations in the area, including town centre regeneration and skills to help people into employment.

The fund will be managed by the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, and organisations can seek awards of up to £5,000 until the cut-off date of June 14.

Additionally, BAE Systems will offer three days worth of business support to successful applicants.

Janet Garner, future workforce director at BAE Systems’ submarines business, said: "We’re pleased to work in collaboration with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership and Social Enterprise Acumen to launch the BAE Systems Social Enterprise Fund.

"Our investment of £60,000 is further demonstration of this company's commitment to the area.

"The funding will provide opportunities for development of new community projects and social enterprises to contribute to the ongoing social and economic development of the local area."

The chair of Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, Rob Randell, said: "Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership is pleased to be working with BAE Systems to further develop the local social enterprise sector in Barrow via this innovative programme.

"This complements the work we have undertaken with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

"Social enterprises contribute around £475m per year to the Cumbrian economy and employ around 11,000 people.

"Through this initiative we can help some new organisations with start-up costs, or de-risk and accelerate planned growth in existing social enterprises."

Voluntary and non-profit-making groups and organisations wanting to apply should contact Martin.Allman@Cumberland.gov.uk.