Spark TRY IT Programme (part of Transforming West Cumbria)

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 TRY IT element of the Spark programme invites investment applications from both new and existing social enterprises to help trial and test new ideas and services. Successful organisations will be supported to test out their ideas.

Sellafield Ltd

Who can apply?
new and existing social enterprises that are engaged in work demonstrating social benefit*, and which are based in Allerdale and/or Copeland, and who have engaged with the SPARK support programme.

*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)
•  Equipment costs
•  Transport costs including lease-hire costs and vehicle purchase
•  Training costs
Please note:
• 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 ‘TRY 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.

Further Information
For more information about the Spark Programme and how to access the support and the application form, please contact Becx Carter at  or ring 07786 678 283 .

For more information on Spark please visit here.