Various community projects in South Copeland have submitted successful grant funding applications to the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership, as the area takes part in the nationwide search for a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).
8 local initiatives have successfully applied so far this year, adding to the 27 projects awarded Community Investment Funding (CIF) in 2022, with many of the projects now coming to fruition.
CIF of up to £1million per annum is provided by the GDF developer to fund projects in the Search Areas. South Copeland is one of three Search Areas in Cumbria; Mid Copeland and Allerdale are two further communities able to access CIF.
The grants can be used to fund projects, schemes or initiatives which benefit the Search Area that provide economic opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, or improve community wellbeing.
The projects to receive CIF in South Copeland so far this year include:
Bootle Parish Council, £775, to fund a box and professional installation for a donated defibrillator in the old red telephone box at Monk Moors owned by the Parish Council. The defibrillator was previously donated for the benefit of residents of Monk Moors, an isolated community.
Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, £3,627, to fund a local excavation searching for evidence of and activities relating to a medieval settlement.
Howgill Family Centre, received an additional £58,078 (£72,963 was received in 2022), funding for a three-year project, Good Enough Start, to provide specialised support to parents and carers of children in their first 1000 days of life and ensure more effective parent-infant bonding and child development. CIF is a majority funder of the programme alongside 3 other funders.
The Hill Village Hall, £25,000, to replace the village hall roof. This will enable the venue to continue as a community hub, hosting activities and social groups for many years to come.
Parkrun Ltd., £4,000, to establish a new Park Run at Muncaster Castle. It is expected that the inaugural event will take place in early August 2023.
St John’s Waberthwaite Parochial Church Council, received an additional £18,000 (£37,240 was received in 2022), to provide funding for a project which will create a resource centre out of an old building, once used as a laundry and bakehouse. The venue will be used for all kinds of community uses, including school groups, meetings and workshops.
Waberthwaite Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling club, £2,500, to fund new wrestling mats for the club which is based at Waberthwaite Village Hall. The club attracts a number of individuals from the farming community and it also aims to address social isolation.
South Copeland GDF Community Partnership Chair, Ged McGrath, said: “For me, being able to see some of the projects being completed from the Community Investment Funding is particularly rewarding as many of these projects would have struggled to find funding without South Copeland being a part of the GDF conversation.
“Many projects have benefitted from CIF funding over the last 18 months, and it’s great to see the positive legacy this funding is starting to leave.
“We’re still considering projects for year two, and I would encourage any local groups, public sector organisations and businesses that want to do something to benefit the community to come forward.”
Whilst the parts of the Search Area located within the Lake District National Park and proposed Southern Boundary Extension are excluded from consideration in the search for a site to host a GDF, these areas can still apply for CIF, and projects in the National Park are encouraged to apply.
Two projects, allocated funding in 2022, which are now benefitting from their grant, are Friends of Eskdale School and Bootle and District First Responders.
Friends of Eskdale School received £31,849 for the installation of Cumbria’s first school biodome at St Bega’s, as well as planters, soil, seeds, seedlings and nutrients for the first year. The biodome, which had its official opening recently, is an important educational resource which will benefit schoolchildren and the wider community.
Paul Botterill, Trustee of the Friends of Eskdale School, said “This project has realised one of the long term aims of the school; to install a biodome in order to provide an inspiring, exciting, multi-purpose and tranquil working space.
“FOES was delighted to make this project happen as it will support the development of our children, and hence our community, for many years to come in a wide variety of subjects, such as art, science, maths, economics and English. It is such an amazing resource for the children that will also foster closer relationships between the school and its local community.
“We are really grateful to the South Copeland GDF Community Investment Funding for providing us with support for this amazing project.”
Bootle and District First Responders received £8,982 to replace 8 defibrillators and purchase a laminator and additional equipment and clothing for when a CFR (Crash, Fire, Rescue) occurs. The equipment has now arrived and will be put to good use.
Stephen Hancock, a volunteer with Bootle and District Community First Responders, said: “Funding has allowed us to replace our ageing defibrillators and other equipment that is essential for us to provide emergency support to our local community. Our defibrillators are expensive pieces of equipment and without CIF support it would have been impossible to re-equip the entire team.
“Being in remote, rural, west Cumbria, it might take some time for an ambulance to attend a medical emergency such as a cardiac arrest or heart attack, which is when local resident First Responders can be alerted by the 999 call handler and be on scene in minutes. Trained by the North West Ambulance Service and carrying essential equipment we are able to provide immediate life-saving support prior to the ambulance or medi-helicopter arriving. Having our new kit secures our future for the coming years for which we are extremely grateful.”
Deep geology beyond the coast is currently being considered for siting the underground elements of a GDF. This means a surface facility on, or near, the coast would provide access to a disposal area deep in rock beyond the coast.
Three other areas in the UK have Community Partnerships and are taking part in the siting process for a GDF: Mid Copeland and Allerdale in Cumbria and Theddlethorpe in Lincolnshire.
A GDF requires both a suitable site and a willing community. It would also require consent from regulators including the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency. Additionally, if a suitable site is found in South Copeland – a process which could take 10-15 years – a Test of Public Support would give people in the potential host community a direct say over whether or not the project goes ahead.
The South Copeland GDF Community Partnership is keen to hear from groups with projects that could be eligible for Community Investment Funding. Find out more and apply here: Community Investment Funding – South Copeland GDF Community Partnership (workinginpartnership.org.uk)