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‘Levelling up’ funding available in Cumberland

Funding is available for charitable community organisations and social enterprises, as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ programme, which aims to address geographical inequalities across the UK.

Cumbria Community Foundation is managing four UK Shared Prosperity Funds (UKSPF) and three Rural England Prosperity Funds (REPF) on behalf of Cumberland Council, with the aim of providing business support and encouraging local people into employment.

Grants of up to £25,000 are available for projects which promote volunteering and wellbeing activities, improve the digital skills of those furthest from the labour market, and create and support businesses with a social purpose.

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

UKSPF E26 – Revenue funding to grow the local social economy (up to £15,000)
To create and support businesses with a social purpose.

UKSPF E30 – Revenue funding for business support (up to £15,000)
To drive employment growth, particularly in areas of higher unemployment.

UKSPF E35 – Revenue support for volunteer and wellbeing activities (up to £20,000)
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 (up to £25,000)
To improve the digital skills of people furthest from the labour market.

REPF 1.2 – Capital grant funding for growing the local social economy and supporting innovation (up to £20,000)
To support all stages of community business including start-ups.

REPF 2.7 – Capital funding for rural circular economy projects (up to £15,000)
To boost the rural circular economy by reducing waste, promoting reuse and recycling, and fostering innovation and creativity.

REPF 2.8 – Capital funding to support rural volunteering facilities (up to £13,500)
To enable the development of volunteering and social action projects.

REPF is focussed on rural areas and therefore excludes the Carlisle City area.

UKSPF 26, REPF 1.2 and REPF 2.7 are open to community-based organisations and social enterprises that are working with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership, who will help develop the investment case and funding application.

More than £450,000 has already been awarded to organisations in Cumbria in previous rounds of UKSPF and REPF funding via Cumbria Community Foundation. 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.

Darren Crossley, Cumberland Council’s Director of Place Sustainable Growth and Transport, said: “We would like to thank partners for their support and look forward to seeing more businesses and organisations benefitting from these funding schemes.”

The funding can be used to cover project running costs, staff salaries, equipment costs and capital costs (REPF only).

Annalee Holiday, Head of Grants Practice & Programmes at the Foundation, said: “These funds have already helped many local people into employment – whether it’s their first job, returning to the world of work or gaining skills through volunteering.

“This latest round of funding offers another fantastic opportunity to inspire, encourage and nurture both new and existing entrepreneurs across Cumberland and I would urge people to apply.”

The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 24 June 2023. If funding is available after this first round of applications, a further funding round will be confirmed.

To find out more or to apply, visit: or or contact Cumbria Community Foundation on or 01900 825760.

If you are a social enterprise that wants to apply, you can contact Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership for advice and assistance – email