Theme of the year: Pits, People, Progress

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is marking 20 years of helping mining communities recover from the devastating effects of pit closures. Over the year it will be reflecting on progress made in regeneration in Scotland where it has supported more than 1,000 community groups, while planning for future initiatives.

During 2019, CRT will be highlighting achievements and examining what still needs to be done to support the ongoing rejuvenation of forming mining villages and towns across the country, under the theme of ‘Pits, People, Progress’.

Since its launch in 1999, CRT, funded by the Scottish Government, has invested more than £20 million in supporting local initiatives to improve health and employment prospects for residents of coalfield areas. Its focus is on community-based projects and job creation schemes in Scotland’s hardest hit areas.

CRT in Scotland launched its 20th anniversary activities on Friday 8 March with the unveiling of its ‘Pits, People, Progress’ banner. This is designed in the style of the mining banners that pits used to have, many of which are still on display at local gala days held each year.

CRT brought together a number of community groups it has supported through the years to come up with ideas for content for the ‘Pits, People, Progress’ banner. The final banner looks back to the dark days of the closure of the mines and charts progress in the last 20 years, moving into the light and optimism brought by the rejuvenation of communities and new jobs created.

A commemorative ‘Pits, People, Progress’ ceramic plate is also being created as well as a coffee table book of photography featuring some of the communities helped by CRT in the last two decades.. Anniversary activities will be held across Scotland for the rest of the year.

Peter McNestry MBE, chair of Coalfields Regeneration Trust UK, said: “The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has been leading the way in improving the quality of life of former mining communities across Scotland since 1999, and that work will continue. To mark our 20th anniversary we’re planning a series of events and initiatives under the theme ‘Pits, People Progress’. We were delighted to launch our anniversary year with the unveiling of our ‘Pits, People, Progress’ banner designed in collaboration with the communities with which we have worked.

“In the last 20 years, with the support of the Scottish Government, we’ve invested more than £20 million in helping local initiatives rejuvenate mining towns and villages. We have driven community-led change and empowered such areas across the country.

“But more remains to be done to help mining communities thrive in the future, and we plan to build on achievements to date  and continue this vital work in helping fragile areas.”

Image shows:  Left to right – Bob Young, CRT Scottish trustee and Peter McNestry MBE, CRT UK chair and CRT’s ‘Pits, People, Progress’ mining banner – unveiled at Scottish Labour Party Conference, Caird Hall, Dundee, Friday 8 March.