Important message regarding COVID-19
Our coalfield communities remain our first priority.
The escalation of measures introduced by government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus will have a significant impact on our communities, and in particular those who are most vulnerable.
Our Programmes Teams across the UK endeavour to maintain full delivery of our services and provide support where we can in these difficult times.
All our staff are now working from home and minimising social contact, unless absolutely necessary, for their own safety. This means we will not be undertaking face to face meetings, and our work delivering essential services like Game On football sessions and funding workshops have been put on hold.
Staff responsible for delivering our usual programme of work will be in touch with service users and partners across England, Scotland and Wales to keep them updated on our plans, and how they can receive support. Below we’ve listed how each of our teams are adapting to these changes, and continue to serve the needs of our communities.
I am confident we can continue to support those struggling in former mining communities using phone, email and conferencing tools.
Wishing you all the best in these very challenging times,
Chief Executive – The Coalfields Regeneration Trust
ENGLAND – Game On England’s Impact
Game On England, our dedicated sport for change programme that aims to inspire young people from deprived former mining areas through football, may have had to postpone its football sessions to maintain participant’s safety – but that doesn’t alter the incredible impact made over the past year.
A total of 998 people participated in Game On England’s 292 weekly sport and fitness sessions in 2019/2020; which is 332 more people than in the previous financial year and more than double the 140 sessions in 2018/2019.
Seventy-two percent of these participants were aged between 12 to 16 years old, and overall Game On England saw a huge increase of 46% in the number of girls who actively took part.
For everyone £1 invested by the ourselves into the Game On England programme we generate £8.90 in social value, which is an increase of more than £2.
Much of this success can be linked to Game On England expanding in many different ways; from launching sessions in the East Midlands for the first time, starting Game On Active fitness sessions in Maltby, and growing the team through the addition of Development Officer Alex Hobson.
It was also a special year for the programme as players from our sessions who qualified to represent their country in our annual Home Internationals Tournament got the chance to experience playing in the inspirational Man City Academy, as well as getting a behind the scenes tour of the Etihad Stadium.
We’ve launched a new impact report here, which fully showcases the difference our weekly football sessions have made to the lives of hundreds of young people.
The spread of Coronavirus has had a significant impact on Scotland’s former mining areas, which is why we’re now offering The Coalfields Emergency Response Fund.
This short-term fund is aimed at supporting local organisations during this difficult time so they can adapt to help those most in need.
Organisations that are providing essential services within their communities are encouraged to apply for a grant of between £100.00 to £1,000 (with a maximum of £1000 per village or town).
The funding has already had a huge impact on many lives, for example; Mayfield & Easthouses Community Council are using it to deliver hot meals to vulnerable members of the community, whilst Blantyre Youth Development Team have been able to buy a fridge and freezer to store more food donations.
We have also been working with Glasgow Caring City and Soapaid to deliver over 90,000 essential soap packages to communities across the country to help battle the spread of the virus.
In response to COVID-19, the priorities of the Coalfields Community Grant programme have been revised and will now focus on: safeguarding community facilities (including Miners Welfares, community centres, village halls, etc.), new or improved services, employment, back to work and upskilling initiatives.
For existing grant holders, the team are aiming to be flexible to respond to their changing needs. We’ll continue to provide development support to the sector including resources, insight data, funding information and support with taking action in the community.
Since the lockdown commenced the Trust’s Cefn Golau Together Coordinator, Chris Walters (funded by Invest Local) has been providing support to vulnerable people in the area.
With support from our colleagues and local volunteers, Chris, the Cefn Golau Tenants & Residents Association (TARA) and Cymru Creations “Tredegar Taskforce” have worked tirelessly to provide support for the community. They have prepared and distributed food parcels, with donations gratefully received from Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee, Greggs, Aneurin Leisure Trust, Fare Share and other local businesses.
Information cards with contact information have also been delivered by volunteers to each household on the estate to provide self-isolation support, including food parcels, healthy snack packs, shopping services, collection of prescriptions or just the time for a friendly chat.