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Investing in coalfield communities

Published: 11 Mar 2016 13:00

£750,000 to tackle inequalities in former coalfield areas.

An organisation that works to tackle inequalities in ex-mining communities will receive £750,000 to boost community engagement and support enterprising activities.

The investment in the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) will benefit communities in the four former coalfield areas of Ayrshire, Fife, Lanarkshire and the Lothians.

It will help social enterprises to become more sustainable, assist some communities to develop their own local action plans for change and give those areas that already have action plans in place support to grow.

The funding will also be used to develop the CRT's new status as an Scottish Qualifications Authority approved learning centre that will offer educational qualifications and skills training to local people.

Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi announced the funding on a visit to CRT's Sport Works project in Alloa which combines sports activities with training and skills development, to support people into employment.

Mr Biagi said:

"As the lead funder for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Scottish Government recognises our former coalfield communities have different regeneration needs and priorities to other communities.

"Our £750,000 investment will help boost community-led regeneration across these four coalfield communities and give a voice to local people in how their areas can be improved.

"Coalfield Regeneration Trust's work is already helping to create jobs, supporting people into work and advising new businesses and social enterprises. It is also encouraging healthier lifestyles and giving community groups the tools they need to become successful and self-sustaining."

Nicky Wilson, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust said:

"The problems facing Scotland's coalfields communities are complex and deeply entrenched, but with the Scottish Government as a key partner and the resilience and commitment of the people who live and work in them, we can and will make a real difference."

"We are working to create empowered, resilient and sustainable communities, where individuals can live, work and learn, with a good quality of life.

"The financial package the Minister announced today will enable us to work towards achieving these goal."

During his visit Mr Biagi met some young people from Alloa who have joined the Coalfields Sport Works programme run by the CRT in partnership with Alloa FC's Wasps Community Club

The twelve-week, part time programme combines coaching in employability skills with taster and participation sessions in a wide range of different sports.

George Maxwell, 26, said:

"My last job was doing furniture removal. This course really appealed to me because I love sports and I want to learn new skills so I can find a better job.

"I have two young children and I really want to be a better role model for them"

Robyn McPake 24, also from Alloa formerly played for Stenhousemuir FC's ladies team. She said:

"I hope the course will build my self-confidence and that I can learn a lot of the techniques and skills I need to fulfill my ambitions to work with children with disabilities."

Notes to editors

More information about the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is available at: http://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/where-we-work/scotland/