COMMUNITY groups across south Cumbria are celebrating after being granted cash awards to transform their services and help more people.

RELATED ARTICLE: Walney wind farm company to fund £15m in community projects around Morecambe Bay

DONG Energy, which is developing the Walney Extension offshore windfarm, has handed out thousands of pounds to projects across the Morecambe Bay area, with clubs and associations in Barrow, Dalton, Ulverston and Millom all getting their hands on extra funding.

Carers fund

Furness Carers, South Lakeland Carers and West Cumbria Carers won the biggest award, with £74,267 going towards projects across all three organisations to support child and young adult carers.

Craig Backhouse, chief executive officer of Furness Carers, said: "It gives us an ideal opportunity and we are already working together. West Cumbria have done a pilot with some workshops and we realise we need some more one-to-one support."

A total of 55 carers aged 16 to 25 are being supported in Furness, 58 in South Lakeland and 39 in West Cumbria.

The money will pay for a new part-time member of staff at all three organisations who will co-ordinate six-week courses for small groups of carers, teaching them practical skills they often miss out on learning due to their commitments like cooking healthy meals and budgeting.

It will also allow staff to offer more individual support and let them raise problems they are having.

Lisa Robinson, young carers' team leader at South Lakeland Carers, said: "They tell us their concerns around caring and around issues like homework or being late in the morning.

"We can signpost them on to services which are more targeted or we can liaise with named staff at schools."

13 organisations

For the expected 25-year lifetime of the windfarm, the Walney Extension Community Benefit Fund will hand out approximately £600,000 each year to community projects.

Project John, which provides supported accommodation for young people in Barrow, will get £20,000.

Manager Nicola Kell said: "This is fantastic. It's going to benefit so many young people in the community."

A total of 13 organisations were awarded grants through the new Walney Extension Community Benefit Fund from this year's first round.

The other awardees were:

- £12,126 to Walney Community Trust Youth Club

- £10,000 to the Samaritans in Barrow

- £18,772 to the Howgill Family Centre in Millom

- £14,400 to Swarthmoor Sports and Community Club

- £10,920 to Dalton Community Association

- £2,300 to Hill Village Hall near Millom

- £21,765 to the North West Ambulance Service's Cardiac Smart campaign

- £4,950 to Lancaster People's Café

- £50,000 to Regenda Limited in Fleetwood

- £10,000 to Poulton and Wyre Railway Society

'Quality and breadth'

Rachel Cary, DONG Energy's lead stakeholder relations advisor, said: "We are delighted by the quality and breadth of the community projects that came forward for this first round of funding.

"The independent steering group, made up of local council and voluntary sector representatives, has selected some great projects from supporting mental health charities and programmes to renovating sports and community facilities.

"Together they should leave a lasting positive impact on the local community."

The fund is administered by national charity GrantScape.

For information on how to apply for the next application round by January 11, click here or call 01908 247634.