COPELAND council has agreed to support an economy-boosting drive to help West Cumbrians in deprived areas find jobs and receive training.

The authority has this week accepted an invitation to become an accountable body for a scheme proposed by a social enterprise group called QL North.

As part of the deal, the council’s executive has agreed this week to accept £200,000 from Sellafield Ltd’s ‘Social Impact Fund’ for the project on the basis that it will progress to the second phase.

The council will receive no more than a five per cent fee for becoming the accountable body, which is up to £10,000.

Mike Starkie said: “Copeland Council has a policy of acting as an Accountable Body for community-based organisations and social enterprises.

“Essentially Sellafield Ltd is asking the council to accept £200,000 for the project on the basis it that it progresses to phase two.”

This initiative aims at meeting three of Sellafield’s social targets of encouraging communities to thrive, helping residents get reliable incomes and strengthening the economy.

Sellafield Ltd invests £10m each year directly into projects in the local area.

This is specific funding, via the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is ring-fenced for Social Impact.

The executive agreed on Tuesday (March 12) to act as “the financial responsible authority”, and also to delegate powers to the mayor and admin officer to release the grants.

Mr Starkie added a further condition that the Executive received half yearly reports on the progress of the initiative.

QL has been described as a “community regeneration initiative” offering training, creating jobs and providing development opportunities for people in low skilled work.

If the project is successful it may be rolled out across northern England.