Grants totalling more than £35,000 have been given out to Copeland projects, including one in memory of much-missed Whitehaven photographer Brian Sherwen.

NuGen has announced the 14 projects to receive funding under its Green Grants scheme, and has revealed that the inaugural Brian Sherwen Award will go to Arlecdon Primary School to help it turn an unused space into a learning environment including a wildlife garden.

Whitehaven man Mr Sherwen, who died last year, was a "much-loved member" of the team, says NuGen, and the award "will provide a lasting memory of Brian and show how much he meant to us".

NuGen, the firm behind the proposed Moorside nuclear power plant, has also donated to:

  • Thornhill School, for gardening and outdoor equipment
  • Ravenglass Railway Museum, to overhaul an accessible garden around the old signal box
  • Workington Nature Partnership, to revitalise a sunken viewing platform
  • Cleator Moor Town Council, to remove leylandii and replant the boundary at High Street allotments
  • Gosforth Agricultural Show, to build 150 new bird boxes
  • St Bees Parish Council, restoration of Priory Paddock's pond area
  • Frizington Community School, to purchase a wildlife camera and replace kit
  • Bootle in Bloom, to install self-watering planters in the village centre
  • St Gregory and St Patrick's Infant School, to improve outdoor learning area
  • Mirehouse Residents Group, improve an area of waste ground near Valley School
  • Moresby Primary School, to create an outdoor learning environment
  • Phoenix Youth Project, to renovate unused space behind Frizington Youth Centre
  • Florence Arts Centre/Stay West Group, to further develop the Wildlife Garden project

The grant recipients were selected by an independent panel, including NuGen chief executive Tom Samson, who said: "I really enjoy getting involved in Green Grants.

"Being part of the judging panel is a tough job but we get to see first-hand how much passion these groups have, and how committed they are to help improve the communities of West Cumbria.

"The selection process is getting harder because the calibre of applicants has really gone up a notch.

"I think Green Grants has allowed the projects to get creative and aim high; the sky really is the limit for some of these ideas."

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie, a fellow panel member, added: "It's great to see so many people working towards making our communities better and improving our wonderful West Cumbrian environment.

"I look forward to seeing all these exciting projects come to fruition."