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.
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.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The GDF programme requires both a suitable site and a willing community.