Calls for more investment in former mining communities.

Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, has committed her support for former mining towns and villages. The MP took the time to sign a dedicated

The pledge, which reads: “I pledge my support to the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in delivering against its objectives to make a lasting and positive impact on the employment, skills and health of residents in former mining towns and villages,” asks MPs to sign their own specially printed page and to give their commitment to the regeneration of the coalfield communities.

Amanda Milling MP said: “Cannock Chase has a very proud mining heritage but one of the key challenges is ensuring that we redevelop the area so that we attract businesses which create new job opportunities for our residents.  I have repeatedly said we also need to ensure that we attract businesses which create skilled jobs too.  We need to continue to ensure Cannock Chase evolves to the changing industrial and economic landscape and is thriving community.  I was therefore very happy to pledge my support for the work the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is doing to boost the employment, skills and health of former mining communities, such as Cannock Chase.”

A skills shortage is a common issue that is evident across former mining communities and an issue that The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is looking to tackle.  In Staffordshire, 19% of residents have no formal qualifications, far higher than the national average of 15%.

Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Andy Lock, comments: “Having this platform gives us the perfect opportunity to raise the ongoing challenges that are still prevalent in the coalfield communities, but importantly it also allows us to share our proposals on how we can tackle these issues to make an impact both socially and economically moving forward. The statistics still make for difficult reading but we know if we come together - and encourage even more MPs like Amanda to combine resources and give their commitment to the communities - we can continue to tackle the ongoing issues, which typically focus on employment, skills and health.”

The Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis, announced proposals to establish a £40m fund that could be used to develop new industrial space for SME’s in former mining areas which could potentially bring an estimated 1,000 jobs to these communities.

The annual income stream of £2m will be directed into social impact projects in the communities, typically achieving the following outcomes; 400 people will be helped back into work; 800 people supported into volunteering; 5,000 people assisted with developing new skills and 8,000 people taking part in activities that improve health.

Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis comments: “Our proposal offers Government a unique opportunity to invest in improving the social wellbeing of the former coalfield communities. It will deliver sustainable returns, providing exceptional indirect benefits including £17 per £1 invested. In addition, this will also result in £90 million of direct benefits from the Government’s £30 million contribution.

For further details about the proposed Coalfields Investment Fund and the work that the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is involved with, please visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.