Transforming West Cumbria (TWC) is a multi-year social investment programme developed by Cumbria Community Foundation. It focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.
Spark, a key strand of the TWC programme, has been co-created to inspire, encourage, and nurture both new and existing social entrepreneurs by raising awareness of social enterprises and empowering people who think creatively; by supporting the growth and development of vibrant social enterprises; and by creating networking and business mentoring opportunities.
Spark will provide intensive, specialist support to social entrepreneurs to help them grow as social leaders. Importantly, it has been designed to address the gaps in and to add value to current social enterprise support in Allerdale and Copeland. Delivered in collaboration with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership (CSEP), this transformational three-year programme will focus on supporting social enterprise start-up and growth through tailored packages of advice, mentoring, and grant awards.
The programme offers business advice delivered 1:1 (the intensity, duration, and specialism of advice will depend on the maturity of an existing enterprise and/or the stage of development of a new enterprise). In addition, enterprises supported through the Spark may have the opportunity to apply for financial support.
The GROW IT element of the Spark programme invites investment applications from established social enterprises that have been operating for at least three years. The investment value would normally be no greater than £15,000. Successful organisations will be supported to grow their impact and build sustainable financial models.
Who can apply?
• established social enterprises that are engaged in work demonstrating social benefit, and which are based in Allerdale and/or Copeland.
*applicants should be able to demonstrate how they will be addressing disadvantage and the needs identified in the West Cumbria Challenges and Opportunities Report.
What the programme will support:
• Salary costs
• Project costs (e.g., room hire)
• Capital and equipment costs
• Transport costs including lease-hire costs and vehicle purchase
• Training costs
• applications for capital building projects will only be considered where planning and other relevant permissions are in place and the development is supported by a business plan.
• applications for vehicle purchase must provide a full justification, together with assurances that the necessary insurances and driver qualifications are in place etc.
What the fund will not support in addition to our normal exclusions:
• feasibility studies
To be eligible, the applying organisation/social enterprise must:
• be registered (e.g., with Companies House or The Financial Conduct Authority or the Charity Commission) or in the process of being incorporated.
• be based in Allerdale or Copeland
• have a governing document (e.g., constitution, articles of association)
• have (or is working towards having) a governing body composed of at least three unrelated individuals
• have a bank account in the company name, with at least two unrelated signatories
• have organisational accounts (if available)
• have a project plan/business plan
• have an up-to-date Safeguarding Policy (if applicable)
Closing date for applications and Committee Meeting dates:
Applications to the Spark ‘GROW IT’ programme will be approved by the West Cumbria Grants Committee. Click here to view application deadline and grants committee dates.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome within five working days of the grants committee date.
If your organisation does not meet all the eligibility criteria, please contact Sue Gilbertson at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07817 609302.
For more information about the Spark Programme and how to access the support and the application form, please contact Sue Gilbertson at email@example.com or ring 07817 609302.
For more information on Spark please visit here.