Coalfields Regeneration Trust Host President of the Dollywood Foundation and Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Ann Somerville

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) was delighted to host representatives from The Dollywood Foundation, home of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville at its Scotland Office in Kincardine. The aim of the meeting was to share ideas to raise educational standards for the youngest children in Scotland’s former coalfield communities and explore possible future partnership opportunities.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is dedicated to building prosperity and opportunity in Scotland’s former coalfield communities. Since 2020, the CRT has helped to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to several locations including Benarty in Fife and Patna in East Ayrshire through CRT grant funding as well providing the link between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and local grassroots organisations to enable a successful rollout of the programme.

Jeff Conyers, President of The Dollywood Foundation, Marion Gillooly, Executive Director and Kirsty Hill, Regional Director, The Dollywood Foundation UK and Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP for Dunfermline met with Pauline Grandison, Head of Operations for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in Scotland together with CRT Vice-Chair Nicky Wilson and CRT Scotland Trustee Bob Young to develop this existing relationship and explore potential future opportunities.

Nicky Wilson, Vice-Chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust said:

“It was fantastic to host Jeff and Shirley-Anne. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP all share the ambition of increasing educational standards for children in former coalfield communities.

“The CRT is really keen to work with our partners to explore all possible opportunities to give children in Scotland’s former coalfield areas the best start in life and we hope we can find more ways to work together in the future.”

Jeff Conyers, President of The Dollywood Foundation said:

“I’m so inspired by the enthusiasm and support to bring Dolly’s vision to ex-coal mining communities supported by Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Dolly’s ongoing commitment to support the growth of the Imagination Library here in Scotland means we can share the joy of reading with more and more children each year. However, we couldn’t do it without the hard work and dedication of community partners – like CRT – who help fund and support the programme.

We are delighted to be working with CRT, as they share our passion for helping children dream big no matter where they come from! We look forward to welcoming many more children across Scotland to the Imagination Library family in 2023.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, MSP for Dunfermline said:

“It was a pleasure to meet with Jeff today and find out more about the fantastic work being done by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to instil a love of reading in young people around the globe.
“I know that the Coalfields Regeneration Trust already do so much to support people across West Fife and I’m pleased to see them seeking out innovative partnerships like this to try and help young people in our local communities.

“Every child and young person deserves to have the same opportunities available to them – wherever they live in Scotland.”

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