GDF Community Partnership Mid Copeland

Contact us

I'm looking for...


Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership Newsletter – Issue 1

March 14, 2022

Welcome to the first newsletter from the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership. In this edition we’ll introduce you to our members so far and provide details of our GDF drop-in events which continue over the next two weeks. We also have all the information you’ll need about the £1million Community Investment Funding – which has just awarded its first grants to local projects!

This GDF Community Partnership was the first to be formed in the country in November 2021 and follows on from the Copeland Working Group to take forward discussions around geological disposal in more detail.

A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste. The Search Area for this Community Partnership includes the electoral wards of Gosforth & Seascale and Beckermet.

We have initial membership at the moment and all of our members are listed further on in the newsletter. That will grow as further members are identified, reflective of the Search Area.

Our first community engagements started last week which take us out and about across Mid Copeland offering information, answering your questions and having discussions about what a GDF Community Partnership means – read on for details.

It’s a real privilege to be able to announce the first three grants awarded from the Community Investment Funding in this newsletter. This is a first for the GDF programme both locally and nationally.

As part of the siting process, each GDF Community Partnership formed has access to up to £1million in investment funding per year for projects which will benefit those living in the Search Area.

Applications are coming in and the first ones were considered at a Community Investment Panel meeting held last month.

The Community Partnership is delighted to be able to share the good news in this newsletter and we hope this will start to bring benefits locally and make a difference to communities.

Please read on to see which projects have benefited so far, as well as an introduction to the local Community Investment Team and a helpful Q&A on the investment funding.

All of our contact details are at the end of the newsletter so do get in touch.

Mark Cullinan – Chair


Who is part of Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership?

A Community Partnership must have at least one relevant principal local authority (such as a district or county council) alongside the GDF developer and members of the community. The aim is for the membership to be reflective of the local community in the Search Area.

The initial Mid Copeland Community Partnership comprises:


Mark Cullinan is the Chair, having previously chaired the Copeland GDF Working Group. He is an experienced Chair, Executive and Non-Executive Director.

Copeland Borough Council:

David Moore represents Copeland Borough Council and is the council’s Portfolio Holder for Nuclear Services.

GDF Programme:

Gillian Johnston represents the GDF developer and is the Community Partnership’s Community Engagement Manager.

Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC):

Andy Pratt represents Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC).

Ponsonby Parish Council:

Bob Jones is Chair of Ponsonby Parish Council and is its representative on the Partnership. Bob has lived in Calderbridge for around 50 years.

Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council:

Julie Nugent is the Chair of Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council and is its representative on the Partnership.

Seascale Parish Council:

David Halliday is the Chair of Seascale Parish Council and is its representative on the Partnership.

Gosforth Parish Council:

Mark Fussell represents Gosforth Parish Council on the Partnership and has lived in the parish all his life.

Drigg & Carleton Parish Council

John Jennings is Chair of Drigg & Carleton Parish Council and is its representative on the Partnership.


GDF drop-in events continue in Mid Copeland

The Mid Copeland GDF Community Engagement Team: from left Claire Dobson, Gillian Johnston and Sue Shepherd


A series of drop-in events are taking place allowing people to hear more about what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is and what it could mean for the area.

The Partnership’s Community Engagement Team are out and about across the Mid Copeland area in Beckermet, Seascale, Gosforth, Calderbridge, Drigg, Haile and Thornhill.

Community Engagement Manager, Gillian Johnston, said: “We want people to come along and have a chat with us, ask us questions, raise any concerns, talk about opportunities – we’re here to help.

“We’re trying to cover as many locations in the area as possible at different times to give as much opportunity for people to join us. The discussions will help us to build up a picture of the main themes which are important in each community.

“At a later date, we could then bring some different experts in their field to discuss in more detail the subjects which matter most to people.”

The drop-ins run until Friday, March 25:

March 14: Gosforth Public Hall (9.30am-12pm); Beckermet Reading Rooms (1-4pm)

March 15: Seascale Library (9.30am-12pm); Gosforth Public Hall (1-4pm)

March 16: Drigg & Carleton Village Hall (9.30am-12pm); Beckermet Reading Rooms (1-4pm)

March 17: Haile Village Hall (9.30am-12pm); Seascale Library (1-4pm)

March 18: Calderbridge & Ponsonby Village Hall (9.30am-12pm); Drigg & Carleton Village Hall (12-3pm)

March 21: Drigg & Carleton Village Hall (9.30am-12pm);

March 22: Seascale Library (9.30am-12pm); Gosforth Public Hall (1-4pm)

March 23: Beckermet Reading Rooms (9.30am-12pm); Thornhill Social Club (1-4pm)

March 24: Seascale Library (9.30am-12pm); Thornhill Social Club (1-4pm)

March 25: Beckermet Reading Rooms (9.30am-12pm); Drigg & Carleton Village Hall (12-3)

Deep geology beyond the coast is 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. If a suitable site is found in Copeland – a process which could take 10-15 years – a decision to develop a GDF in Mid Copeland could not be taken until the community in the electoral wards directly affected has had a say and taken a positive Test of Public Support.

A community that takes the opportunity to host a GDF will receive significant additional investment and long-term benefits for future generations, including jobs and skills.

Community Investment Funding – meet the local team

Helen Conway – Grants Manager

John Gallagher – Grants Officer


Grant funding of up to £1 million annually is available from central government for the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership as it takes part in the siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Bids and enquiries for local projects have been coming in since the Partnership was launched in November last year and it has recently awarded its first grants to three local projects – read on for details.

The grants can be used to fund projects, schemes or initiatives that provide economic opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, or improve community wellbeing.

The Community Investment Team in Copeland includes Grants Manager Helen Conway, who lives in Whitehaven. Helen has 24 years’ experience in the Not For Profit (NFP) sector locally as well as youth work and volunteer management.

Helen also worked for Cumbria CVS for six years providing specialised development and governance support to NFPs across West Cumbria and more recently has six years’ experience in grants management with the Copeland Community Fund.

The team also includes Grants Officer, John Gallagher, who also lives in Copeland. John worked at Sellafield for eight years and since then has also gained extensive experience in the NFP sector. Most recently he was employed as a Centre Manager for a Cumbria-based charity providing office space and services to other charities.

The team’s role is to administer Community Investment Funding for Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership by supporting the Community Investment Panel, those who apply for grants and those who receive them.

Helen said: “We can provide pre-application guidance and application support so do talk to us so we can help ensure your bid is as thorough and well thought through as possible, with all the supporting evidence you need. That way, when you’re ready to put in a grant application, you’re much more likely to be successful.”


Contact the team:

Telephone: 0300 369 0000



Post: Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership, GDF Enquiries, PO Box 734, Swansea, SA1


Community Investment Funding – your questions answered

Who can apply?

The fund is open to applications from community groups, public sector organisations and businesses that want to do something to benefit the community in the Mid Copeland Search Area. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, the team are there to help.

What help is available?

Contact the team before you apply so that you have the best chance of putting in a successful application. They can talk to you over the phone, meet you in person (if circumstances allow) or arrange an online meeting. They can help to ensure your bid is as thorough and well thought through as possible, with all the supporting evidence you need.

How does your organisation apply?

All applications will be through the online grants management system which can be accessed here. We recommend you contact the team for an informal discussion about your project, funding and any application needs before applying.

Is your organisation eligible to apply?

Properly constituted private, public and third sector organisations may apply for funding. Organisations may also apply in partnership but would require one organisation to act as lead organisation for the partnership and ‘accountable body’ for the funding. If you are an unconstituted organisation it might be possible for another organisation to apply for funding on your behalf. Individuals may not apply for funding for their own personal use.

How can the funding be used?

Here are some examples:

Economic Development: For example, employment opportunities, job creation, skills development, education or training, promotion of local enterprise, long-term economic development or economic diversification

Natural or Built Environment: Including cultural and natural heritage, especially where economic benefits, for example through tourism, can be demonstrated

Community Wellbeing: For example, improvements to community facilities, enhancement of the quality of life or health and well-being of the community

How much can you apply for?

You can apply for a small, medium or large grant:

Small grants – under £10,000

Medium grants – above £10,000 to £50,000

Large grants – above £50,000

How long do you have to spend the grant?

This would be covered in your Grant Acceptance Agreement. It would be specific to each project and relate to the information you have provided on your application form about your expected project lifetime. All eligible expenditure must be incurred during the lifetime of the project.

When will you know the outcome of your application?

Applications for funding will be assessed by the Mid Copeland GDF Community Investment Panel every eight weeks. You will then be notified of the outcome and any next steps.


Three community projects awarded grant funding from GDF Programme

Three community projects have been awarded grant funding as their area takes part in the search for a suitable site to build a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

In a first for West Cumbria – and nationally – over £65,000 of Community Investment Funding has been awarded to local initiatives from the GDF Programme.

Formation of the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership has given access to £1million Community Investment Funding per year from the GDF programme as discussions progress around what a facility could mean locally. The Search Area includes the electoral wards of Gosforth & Seascale and Beckermet.

A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste. Community Partnerships are long-term groups made up of local people, the GDF developer and local authorities to consider the possibilities of hosting a GDF within an identified Search Area.

Layla-Mae takes a rest at the Seascale BMX Pump Track

The three projects to benefit from this first round of funding are:

  • £47,801 for a revamp of the BMX Pump Track at Seascale
  • £9,576 to the Beckermet Reading and Recreation Rooms to develop refurbishment plans
  • £8,122 for an electronic scoreboard for Seascale Cricket Club

Mark Cullinan, Chair of the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to be able to start awarding the grant funding for local projects which will help to make a difference to communities while they are part of this process. The applications coming in are varied and will benefit many different groups in the Mid Copeland area.”

Connor shows off some moves at the Seascale BMX Pump Track

Seascale Parish Councillor Lizzie Mawson, who applied for funding for a revamp of the village BMX Pump Track, in Seascale, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to have the funding for this local facility – the children and young people come from far and wide to use it. This grant will enable us to do much needed work that we have been trying to do before the track falls into disrepair.

“This will mean we can resurface the track, provide fencing, pedestrianise the area, improve the seating and provide litter bins. It’s brilliant news for the community.”

Match funding is not required when applying for Community Investment Funding however a huge fundraising effort has been made in the local community over the past 18 months – adding a further £9,600 to the project.

Lizzie added: “I would encourage others to apply, there are no end of projects which could be done in our area.”

Beckermet Reading and Recreation Rooms is planning a refurbishment to celebrate its centenary in 2023. This funding will allow plans to be drawn up to look at an upgrade for the well-used community facility. They would then apply for further funding to make the project a reality.

Committee member Geoff Nugent said: “This funding is great news as we are going to become a Community Interest Company and have big plans for the facility. We are looking at a full refurbishment of the kitchen, toilets, function room and a new heating system. We are also considering a permanent café for the villagers and to attract people using the cycle path and coastal path – all to be ready for a re-launch in September 2023.”

Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership member David Moore, who represents Copeland Borough Council, said: “This is the start of the community investment funding process and these are the first ones to be awarded grants. The criteria is wide so there’s lots of opportunities for people to apply.”

Funding is available to support projects that provide economic development opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, or improve community well-being. The next round of applications will be considered in April, for details about Community Investment Funding, see the website and get in touch for help and support: – or email:

Gillian Johnston, Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership Community Engagement Manager is pictured with Beckermet Reading Rooms committee members Kath Cook, Doug McDevitte and Geoff Nugent


Contact us – the Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership wants to hear from you!

Do you have a question? Would you like talk to our community engagement team? Would you like some information? Are you interested in applying for Community Investment Funding?

Whatever your need please find all of our contact details here:

Contact us here.


Community Investment Funding email:

Telephone: 0300 369 0000

Post: Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership, GDF Enquiries, PO Box 734, Swansea, SA1

Please follow us on our social media channels to keep up with the latest news:

Twitter: @copelandM_CP

Linkedin: Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership

Facebook: MidCopelandGDFCommunityPartnership

To see the Minutes of Mid Copeland GDF Community Partnership meetings see here.