Funding secured to renew industrialised heartland of East Ayrshire

The Coalfield Environment Initiative has worked with partners of the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership to secure a £2.56m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund*

Long live the hill (c) Andrew Jarrott

The Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership will work with communities to deliver interlinked projects that address environmental issues, enhance and intepret historic structures, facilitate access to the landscape and celebrate the area’s rich industrial heritage and the communities that settled here as a result. The CCLP will encourage collaborative working and will build capacity within the communities by creating jobs, and offering training and support.

The Landscape Partnership area covers 250sq km between the river valleys of the Lugar and the Doon and includes some of the highest levels of deprivation in Scotland. Although scarred by bings and spoil heaps, it contains 8 Special Scientific Interest sites including important blanket bog sites and breeding grounds for hen harriers and short-eared owls.

Potential projects that are planned include:

  • A trail interpreting the lost mining villages of the valleys and oral histories capturing the life of those that lived there
  • Restoration works to the banks of the Lugar and Doon Rivers
  • An arts project to celebrate the history of the brass bands associated with the mining communities
  • The creation of new paths to improve opportunities for walking and cycling
  • Apprenticeships in landscape management
  • The development of a sustainable fuel source using biomass to create briquettes.

Drew Bennellick, HLF Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, said:

“Across the UK people are increasingly realising that nature is in trouble and it’s time to take a more proactive approach. Schemes like these provide a creative solution to helping people reconnect with landscapes and the environment, to implement solutions at a truly landscape-scale and tackle issues such as soil loss and flooding by supporting partnerships and coalitions of the willing.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said:

“The first round pass is fantastic news for East Ayrshire and will allow us to work up the detail of our ambitious scheme, devised in partnership with our communities. This wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of our wonderful partners – East Ayrshire Leisure Trust, Central Scotland Green Network, Forest Enterprise Scotland, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and Scottish Natural Heritage.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership work, sharing the benefits of a renewed landscape and celebrating our unique heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to realise our ambitions, carrying out work in our coalfield communities which would not otherwise have proved possible.”

*HLF operates a two-stage process with initial support being given at round one, allowing a project to progress with and develop its plans. At this stage, development funding is usually awarded.  The applicant then submits a further, fully-developed application at round two, when a final decision is made by HLF on the full funding award. The £2.56m grant from HLF will be matched by contributions from East Ayrshire Council, partners and grant-giving bodies to deliver £5m of benefits over the scheme’s lifetime.