First Transforming West Cumbria grants awarded

6th October 2020

The first round of grants awarded under Transforming West Cumbria will benefit families across the West Cumbrian community.

Funded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact multiplied programme, Transforming West Cumbria has been developed by Cumbria Community Foundation, and focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.

Part of that programme is the Family Wellbeing scheme, which brought together representatives from the public, voluntary and health sector to ensure families are offered a package of support to improve their health, wellbeing, and happiness. The scheme awarded cash grants of up to £50,000 a year for 3 years to projects that work collaboratively and focus on improving outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families in West Cumbria.

Last week, a panel considered applications submitted under the Family Wellbeing 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 are:

Groundwork North East and Cumbria / iCan be HAPPY

The project will work in partnership with iCan Health & Fitness CIC and will engage with the most difficult to reach families in the community by designing a programme that is fun, positive, interactive and based on the types of support and activities that parents say they 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.

Safety Net (UK) / Whole Family Approach to Tackling Domestic and Sexual Abuse

Safety Net (UK) will use their grant to employ a specialist Children and Young People’s Practitioner to work with families who have 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.

Howgill Family Centre / Early Years Parental engagement

The ambition of this project is to 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.

Time to Change West Cumbria / Family Court Support Officer & McKenzie Friend 

Time to Change West Cumbria will use their grant to employ a Family Court Support Officer, based at the Women Out West (WOW) Centre, who will also train as a McKenzie Friend, ensuring that vulnerable women and their children get the moral and administrative support they need when involved in the Court system.

Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS) / Targeted, in depth substance use support for affected families

Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service 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.

Together We CIC / Together We Improve Family Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience

The project will deliver 6 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

Barnardo’s / Barnardo’s Think Family project

The Barnardo’s Think Family project will support children 0-5 years old in Copeland identified through the Child Centred Policing Hub as needing intense support around emotional resilience, child development, childhood 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.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “COVID-19 has brought existing inequalities to the fore and exacerbated issues within our communities. It poses a huge challenge for many families and for those on low income or grappling with multiple disadvantages, the pressure can lead to increased stress and tension within the family home.

“We are incredibly proud to be working with Sellafield and these multi-year awards will make a significant impact across the region. This level of strategic support will allow these groups to work together to deliver early intervention and essential support to help hundreds of our most vulnerable families reach their potential.”

For more information about Family Wellbeing and Transforming West Cumbria, visit