MP for Gedling, Vernon Coaker has backed a campaign calling on the government to create a dedicated fund to help revitalise former mining communities.
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust said it has secured support from cross-party MPs across the country for its proposal that a Coalfields Fund is created.
The campaign began following the publication of the State of the Coalfields 2019 report, which is the first piece of dedicated research on former mining communities since 2014.
The report said these forgotten communities remain ‘scarred by the legacy of the past’ with key findings showing that in order to raise the employment level to that of South East England, 170,000 additional coalfield residents would need to be in work.
Furthermore, 42 per cent of residents in coalfields live within the 30 per cent most deprived communities in the UK, showing little change in the last five years.
Vernon Coaker MP, who serves the Gedling constituency – a former pit community – has confirmed his support for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the only organisation dedicated to supporting the 5.7 million people living in former mining communities throughout the UK, by signing a Book of Support.
The Book of Support reads: “I support The Coalfields Regeneration Trust with its case for the reinstatement of a bespoke coalfields fund to help scale up its activities and deliver positive socio-economic impacts in the UK’s former mining communities.”
Vernon Coaker MP said: “Although the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is delivering great programmes to help the people living within these communities, in order to eradicate the deprivation left behind from the collapse of the coalmining industry, more resources are needed.
“Much like many former coalmining areas in the UK, my constituency still suffers with unemployment, lack of skills and training and poor health. The dedicated fund that was proposed by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will allow us to work together to address these core issues and significantly improve the social and economic prospects of these communities. We need to take action now.”
Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Fund, Gary Ellis, comments: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Vernon for taking the time to sign our Book of Support. It is only by working together that we will achieve our ambitions for the future.
“Although we have successfully continued to improve the lives of people within the coalfield communities, the reinstatement of a government funding package will help us significantly increase the scale of activities that we are able to deliver.
“We have an ambitious five-year strategy to transform former coalmining communities into growing social and economic areas, but we cannot do it alone.
“The State of the Coalfields 2019 report has highlighted the challenges that continue to blight our communities. While the coalfields have become somewhat of a political battleground over recent months, we now need the Government to come forward and support plans to make a lasting difference. The time for discussion is up, we need to see some action.”
For further details about the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and its proposal for changing the future opportunities and prosperity for residents throughout England, Scotland and Wales please visit: www.coalfields-regen.co.uk or for regular updates follow @CoalfieldsRegen.