Sellafield Ltd’s chief executive has officially opened the revitalised Frizington Youth and Community Centre in West Cumbria.

Euan Hutton cut the ribbon at a ceremony to celebrate completion of the ‘life-changing’ project.

The centre had fallen into disrepair and was at risk of closure when the community turned to Sellafield’s Decommissioning Delivery Partnership (DDP) for help.

DDP is a framework bringing together Sellafield Ltd and 6 supply chain companies, known as lot delivery partners.

They are:

  • Cumbria Nuclear Solutions
  • i3 Decommissioning Partners
  • IDS
  • Nexus
  • The Decommissioning Alliance.

The group delivers decommissioning work on the Sellafield site. But it also has an eye on social value.

Team members immediately saw the life-changing potential of the Frizington project.

Working with Sellafield Ltd’s Social Impact Multiplied (SiX) team, they developed a refurbishment plan and set a group of local contractors to work.

Mike Lacey, project director for i3 Decommissioning Partners, one of DDP’s lot partners, said:

“We were shocked to see how run down the youth centre was. The state of disrepair and lack of natural light almost made it feel like a prison. The whole DDP team saw a need for action  and came together as part of our social value commitment. Our vision was not only to serve current users of the building, but open the door to additional groups and social enterprises. We wanted to bring services for all ages back to the village and create a life-changing community asset Frizington could be proud of.”

The work was carried out by a group of contractors led by William King Construction, of Cleator Moor, West Cumbria.

It became a personal passion project for William, who attended the centre as a child in 1990s.

They battled against challenging timescales throughout and have successfully delivered a fully-accessible building which is both financially and environmentally sustainable.

It’s been transferred into the ownership of the community and will be able to generate greater rental income. Installation of solar panels and batteries mean it will also be greener.

The centre will house the Phoenix Youth Project’s youth club, an office base for ‘Always Another Way’, a local charity providing mental health and LGBTQ+ support services, Age UK, and Citizens Advice Bureau.

Discussions are ongoing with other potential users including Howgill Family Centre, the Pupil Referral Unit and the Cumbria Police.

Paul Rowe, director of the Phoenix Youth Project, said:

“For the young people I work with, this will be a great place to make memories. I know they can’t wait to start using the new facility. They will have access to technology and recreational equipment that many don’t have at home. It will be a safe, warm space for them to develop and thrive. This building will be a community hub to bring back services to the village. We could not have achieved this without our funders who have made amazing financial contributions to this project. My team and I are committed to shaping the centre into being the central point of the community; a place used by everyone for recreation, community support, education, and engagement.”

Simon Martin, DDP programme manager for Sellafield Ltd said:

“We’re delighted to have been able to support this project. We recognise the importance of supporting our local communities and in particular to deliver outcomes that support further development. Our DDP partners have made a huge contribution and many people have gone above and beyond. We are all immensely proud how the project has turned out.”