THE DOUGLAS Valley is among the beleaguered current and former mining areas of Scotland which will get a share of £1.5 million.
The extra Scottish Government cash has been given to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to spend over the next two years, starting new businesses and creating new employment for areas such as ours which have been struggling to find a new role in a ‘post-coal’ world.
It could be said that the Douglas Valley and the Forth area have never really recovered from the end of deep mining a generation ago.
There were some new jobs in the more recent opencast coal industry but many of them went too last year when the main operators, Scottish Coal, went bust, leaving over 700 seeking new employment.
Rather than plough much of the extra cash into big projects, it will be mostly used in small ‘parcels’ of funding to help small to medium sized projects get off the ground.
Part of the money wll pay to employ two full-time co-odinators to organise all these individual efforts through the Coalfields Communities Futures programme .
The Trust also announced a new round of its Coalfields Communities Investments Fund which offers grass roots organisations awards of between £500 and £10,000, although this year the ceiling is likely to be £5,000.
The CRT’s new programme was launched at a meeting of the Coalfields Community Network in Lanarkshire on Friday when speakers included Trust Chief Executive Gary Ellis.
He revealed the CRT has commissioned research from Professor Steve Fothergill, of Sheffield Hallam University, into hardship levels in mining communities.
He said; “We would love to be able to walk away and say our work in revitalising coalfield communities is complete but, unfortunately, we know there is still a big job to be done and our new research will spell out how tough times still are for mining families.”
For more on this, pick up a copy of this week’s Carluke and Lanark Gazette