Transforming West Cumbria Spark Programme: TRY IT

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 TRY IT element of the Spark programme invites 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. 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) and the opportunity to apply for a grant award.


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.

To be eligible, the applying organisation/social enterprise must:

  • be registered (e.g., with Companies House or The Financial Conduct Authority) or in the process of being incorporated.
  • be based in Allerdale or Copeland, West Cumbria
    have a governing document (e.g., constitution, memorandum, 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)

If your organisation does not meet all the eligibility criteria, please contact

Sue Gilbertson at or ring 07817 609302.

What the programme will support:

  • Salary costs
  • Project costs (e.g., room hire)
  • Equipment costs
  • Transport costs including lease-hire costs but excluding vehicle purchase
  • Training costs

Closing date for applications and Committee Meeting dates

Applications to the SPARK TRY IT programme will be approved by the West Cumbria Grants Committee.

The closing date for applications and West Cumbria Grant Committee meeting dates are as follows:

Closing date of 03/12/2021 for the Committee meeting on 05/01/2022
Closing date of 25/02/2022 for the Committee meeting on 23/03/2022
Closing date of 27/05/2022 for the Committee meeting on 22/06/2022
Closing date of 19/08/2022 for the Committee meeting on 14/09/2022
Closing date of 18/11/2022 for the Committee meeting on 14/12/2022

Further Information

For more information about the Spark Programme and how to access the support, please contact Sue Gilbertson at or ring 07817 609302.

For more information on Spark please visit here.