East Ayrshire’s Coalfield Communities are set to benefit from a multi-million pound landscape and heritage regeneration project, following the award of over £2.2m to the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The partnership has secured £2,220,500 for a 5 year project. Once added to other funding that partners have and will continue to secure, the total project budget will be in the region of £6million.
The funding will finance 22 exciting community led projects over the project area that aim to significantly improve the cultural, natural and industrial heritage of the area.
These varied projects include peatland restoration, new footpaths, an oral history project to capture memories of the lost mining villages, the reinstatement of hedgerow habitats, a musical celebration of life in the coalfields and much, much more. The funding provides an opportunity to re-vitalise life in and reconnect local communities with their own distinctive landscape by tapping into its history, improving knowledge of the present and helping inspire aspirations for the future.
Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage, said: “The industrial history of East Ayrshire means that people often don’t recognise that the area is rich in both built and natural heritage. With the help of National Lottery funding, the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership will help communities across a wide area reconnect with the heritage on their doorstep, strengthening their sense of pride and inspiring stewardship of the land around them.”
The impetus for the CCLP came from East Ayrshire Council’s Minerals Local Development Plan which focusses on regeneration and restoration, rather than just mineral extraction. Adopted in January this year, the CCLP is fully embedded within the Minerals Local Development Plan (MLDP) and will work with other initiatives to improve the coalfields area over the lifetime of the Plan.
Cllr Roberts, Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said ‘I am delighted that the application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been successful. This is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work over the last 2 year from the CCLP team and of course our passionate and committed community partners, without whom the Partnership just would not work. I am excited to see the marvellous mix of projects as they come to fruition over the next five years and I’m sure all our communities will benefit greatly from them.’
East Ayrshire Council is the lead Partner of the CCLP, the other Board members are:
Ed Forrest from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere said “I’m thrilled to hear that funding has been confirmed and really looking forward to our UNESCO Biosphere working with local communities and partners in delivering what will be a truly transformational project for the Coalfields area.”
The partnership’s community partners are also pleased to receive the support which will help deliver projects that they have been working on. The Rev John Patterson, Lugar Parish Church said “For five years the Kirk Session and congregation of Lugar Parish Church have been planning the development of the Church building, first donated to Lugar by Baird & son in 1867, so that it might be more relevant as a building and a resource today. Without ceasing to be a worship centre, phase two was proposed to be the internal development of the building to include a cafe, disabled toilets, disabled access and a heritage information centre concentrating on the immediate local area and such people as William Murdoch. We in Lugar Church are most grateful to all partners inside and beyond the church for their encouragement and support. The bid to HLF through CCLP and East Ayrshire Council has been successful and the development of the church will commence soon, ensuring the building will be a continuing gift to Lugar that keeps giving as an asset to the whole community.”
For more information on all the projects visit www.coalfieldcommunities.co.uk