The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the only organisation dedicated to the 5.5m people living in former mining towns and villages throughout Britain, will ask government and partners to help to create an investment fund of £40m for the coalfields when it addresses stakeholders during an exclusive cross party political event at Westminster on 22 March 2017.
Showcasing the work and success that has recently been achieved as a result of its strategic partnerships with the private, public and community sectors, the organisation will take the opportunity to make its case clear.
Reinforcing the scale of the problem, priority areas in the East Midlands include Chesterfield, Mansfield, Bolsover and Nottingham all of which report significant numbers of their populations living in the top 20% most deprived communities in the country.
58% of the Nottingham population (179,876 people) live in the top 20% most deprived communities with just 31% in full time employment compared the national average of 39%. This equates to over 17,000 people of working age. Whilst in Bolsover, 33% of people have no qualifications compared to 22% nationally and in Mansfield 24% have limiting long-term illness compared to 18% nationally.*
The £40m will be used to develop new industrial space in the coalfields bringing much needed jobs to the communities. Over the next 25 years this will produce £50m in sustainable income, which in turn will be invested in to social impact projects, creating a wellbeing value of £500m and a generation of lasting legacy.
Addressing three priorities for action; employment, skills and health, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will explain that the £40m is made up of an `ask’ to government of £30m with a £10m investment from its own resources to achieve the following:
- The creation of 400,000sq ft. of new industrial and commercial space in areas where, typically, other developer operations are unlikely to occur
- 1,000 jobs in areas where people struggle to access the labour market opportunities
- An annual sustainable income stream of £2m to be reinvested in to social impact projects
Typically, an income of £2m invested into social impact projects each year, through a Coalfields Community Investment Programme, will:
- Help 400 people back into work (10,000 over 25 years)
- Support 800 people into volunteering (20,000 over 25 years)
- Assist 5,000 people to learn new skills (125,000 over 25 years)
- Encourage 8,000 people to take part in activities that will improve their health (200,000 over 25 years)
- Benefit 25,000 people as a result of social impact investments (625,000 over 25 years)
Chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Peter McNestry comments: “People may think that £30m is a lot of money to ask for, but when you consider the scale of the challenges that still remain, it requires this level of ambition if we are to make the significant and lasting impacts needed.
“We need to get these communities back on their feet. We’ve come some way since the closures but there is more that needs to be done. We know that we can deliver a social return on investment of £10 for every £1 spent. There is no other organisation in the country that could achieve this in our communities.
“We’ve set out our case and made it clear that we are looking for government to be an investment partner and in return it will see a huge social and economic return to the coalfield communities at a time when there is much interest in the plight of post-industrial communities. We know that we have people who want to work, want to learn, want to spend locally and want to create communities that are alive with opportunities. We need to support them to do that.”
Typically falling within the 30% most deprived communities in the country; the coalfields continue to face ongoing challenges that result in higher than average unemployment, lack of skills and ill health. Statistics show that there are only 50 jobs for every 100 people of working age, the proportion of working age population with low or no qualifications is 60% higher than in London and 11.7% of people report long-term health problems.
Since 1999, the Programmes developed by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust have reached over 2m people with reports showing that:
- 25,500 people have been helped into work
- 5,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded
- 3m have improved skills
- 250,000 people have been encouraged to participate in activities that improve health
Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, who will host the event in Westminster comments: “I very much support the Coalfields Regeneration Trust’s call for a new investment fund for the coalfields. It would make a big difference to my community and to coalfields across the country.
“Everyone in my town of Barnsley knows the impact of the decline of the coalfields. We’ve come a long way in the last 30 years but the loss of jobs in the defining industry of our town was a devastating blow to Barnsley’s economy and identity.
“That is why the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is so important. Our coalfield communities have been left behind for far too long and the Government has an opportunity to help redress this injustice. By investing the money the Regeneration Trust is asking for, we can create more jobs and training opportunities in coalfield communities.
“There is great potential in Barnsley and in coalfield communities across the country. I am optimistic that, with the right support, we can help those areas which were so badly damaged by the decline of coal industry continue to recover.”
For further details about the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the work that the organisation is involved with, please visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.