The idea for this pilot filmmaking project, was the belief that the coalfield communities have a plethora of positive and inspiring stories to tell that go way beyond their coalmining heritage.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the coalfield communities and demonstrate how resilient they are, and how able they are to find solutions to their own challenges and quickly self-organise to support residents who are vulnerable or in need. It was also an opportunity to capture evidence of the impact lockdown has had on lonely, disabled and elderly people trapped in their own homes and to find out from them also what the contact via local committees – such as befriending phone calls, food parcels and deliveries – had on them.
The negative descriptors and statistics attached to these villages and towns by policy makers and others who neither live in nor understand the challenges that these communities face – they are often referred to as “deprived” and “poor”. It is indeed true that there are high levels of no/low educational attainment, poor health, unemployment, crime, and neglected buildings and greenspaces, but the perception of others and the statistics rarely reveal the strengths and the potential that these communities have – strong community spirit, proudness, comradeship, rich histories often untold and beautiful natural assets e.g. countryside parks, woodlands, lochs.
Here you can explore a range of films made by individuals, community organisations, and filmmaker Anne Milne and curator Shona Thomson. When it is safe to do so, we hope to be able to present the films on the big screen in local community cinemas through the support of Regional Screen Scotland and the Folk Film Gathering and its funders Screen Scotland.
The project team thank everyone who took the time to share their stories of life in lockdown. We hope you enjoy these inspirational stories told by those delivering services during lockdown and those on the receiving end of those lifelines.
The Films of Action Project Team:
Caron Hughes, Development Manager, Coalfields Regeneration Trust
Angela Davis, Community Engagement Officer, Coalfields Regeneration Trust
Shona Thomson, Curator/Producer – www.akindofseeing.co.uk
Anne Milne, Filmmaker & Educator – www.annemilne.com
During the lockdown, ACDI (Auchinleck Community Development Initiative) focused on sending out nature-inspired activity packs around the local communities. They proved very popular with the younger members of the community.
To find out more information about ACDI and the work they do, please visit: http://www.auchinleckcdi.co.uk/
Sharon stayed up for 26 hours to knit hats for premature babies. She was also raising money for The Clearing in Cowdenbeath, a local charity. This is her diary.
The Clearing in Cowdenbeath had to close during the lockdown. Wilma and Lorraine, street pastors describe how they managed to keep serving their community. And community members Sharon and Lynnette get busy knitting and sewing.
Eric Duncan is the founding member of the Camera Club – a family of new and experienced photographers who have fun in their creativity and are supporting each other’s wellbeing through the challenges of lockdown.
To find out more information about Dunfermline Camera Club and the work they do, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/dunfermlinecameraclub
As a High Valleyfield community councillor and active local volunteer, Robert Mckenzie connects the village’s spirit of coming together from an archive film he unearthed of a local performance project in 1985 to the work happening now in the area to help everyone get through lockdown.
To find out more information about Valleyfield Community Council and the work they do, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/valleyfieldcommunitycouncil
Kelty Street Collective report on how they spent lockdown. Activities included art packs, face masks and lots of murals.
To find out more information about Kelty Street Art and the work they do, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/KeltyStreetArt
Volunteers from the Cardowan Community Meadow organise and deliver bags of fruit and veg to the Cardowan community with help from their youth members.
Volunteers at the Cardowan Community Meadow project celebrate the importance of green space in the time of COVID-19.
To find out more information about the Cardowan Community Meadow and the work they do, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/CCMeadow/
Jerry worked down the mines at Cardowan and also at Castlehill in Fife. Here he reminisces on his time as a miner.
Melody presents a poem written in the time of the COVID lockdown. It sums up what life was like at that time.
To find out more information about The Glenboig Development Trust and the work they do, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Glenboig-Development-Trust-177007985691478/
Nothing stops West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network’s Chit Chat Group, not even Covid-19. Frustrated at being ‘locked in’ their homes, this active group of Stoneyburn residents decided to write, perform and record their own song about their lockdown experiences online via Zoom – ‘Our Lockdown Song’. In this ‘Making of’ video the group share why and how they made their song and what they see in their future.
Watch the original ‘Our Lockdown Song’ here:
Staff and clients of Whitburn’s Answer Project talk about the changes that were made during COVID-19 lockdown.
To find out more about the Answer Project and the work they do, please visit: https://answer-me.org.uk/