Community groups in Cumberland encouraged to apply for funding

8th December 2023

Funding is available for charitable community organisations and social enterprises to provide business support and to encourage local people into employment and volunteering.

Cumbria Community Foundation is managing three UK Shared Prosperity Funds (UKSPF) & one Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council.

Grants of up to £45,000 are available to drive employment growth by providing support to start-up businesses and to help move those furthest from the labour market closer to employment by upskilling and providing volunteering opportunities.

A mix of revenue and capital grants are available through four schemes:

• UKSPF E30 – Revenue funding for business support
To drive employment growth, particularly in areas of higher unemployment.

• REPF 2.8 – Capital funding to support rural volunteering facilities
To enable the development of volunteering and social action projects. REPF is focussed on rural areas and therefore excludes the Carlisle City area

• UKSPF E35 – Revenue support for volunteer and wellbeing activities
Supporting people furthest from the labour market to overcome barriers to work by providing volunteering and enrichment activities to improve opportunities and promote wellbeing.

• UKSPF E36 – Revenue funding to support digital inclusion
To improve the digital skills of people furthest from the labour market.

The aim of the funding is to spread a culture of enterprise, create local jobs and boost community cohesion by providing a range of support for new and existing businesses, alongside fostering a sense of local pride, and belonging.

Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, said: “This is the first year that Cumberland Council has run the scheme, and it is now operated on a Cumberland wide basis.

“There are a variety of grants available, some with differing criteria, so we urge anyone interested in applying to read the guidance carefully before they make an application.”

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund & Rural England Prosperity Fund will offer revenue support to organisations that aim to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems, and can cover project running costs, staff salaries and small equipment costs.

The fund was set up thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which was launched in April 2022 and is part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. It aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK, investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. To find out more about the funding and other grants schemes available, visit

Annalee Holiday, Senior Grants & Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said: “This funding provides a fantastic opportunity to inspire, encourage, and nurture, both new and existing entrepreneurs in across Cumberland as well as supporting local people into employment – whether it’s their first job, returning to the world of work or gaining skills through volunteering.”

The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 22nd January 2023

To find out more or to apply, click here.