CCLP Awarded £2,220,500 by National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Coalfield communities of East Ayrshire are set to benefit from a multi-million pound landscape and heritage regeneration project, following the exciting announcement that the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership has been successful in its application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery players the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) has secured £2,220,500 for a 5 year delivery phase. When added to other funding that partners have secured and will continue to secure, the total project budget will be in the region of £6million.

The partnership will be delivering 22 exciting community led projects over the project area that aim to significantly improve the cultural, natural and industrial heritage of the area.  The wide range of projects include peatland restoration, new footpaths, an oral history project to capture memories of the lost mining villages, the reinstatement of hedgerow habitats, a musical celebration of life in the coalfields and much, much more.  The funding provides an opportunity to re-vitalise life in and reconnect local communities with their  own distinctive landscape by tapping into its history, improving knowledge of the present and helping inspire aspirations for the future.,

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage, said:

“The industrial history of East Ayrshire means that people often don’t recognise that the area is rich in both built and natural heritage. With the help of National Lottery funding, the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership will help communities across a wide area reconnect with the heritage on their doorstep, strengthening their sense of pride and inspiring stewardship of the land around them.”

The impetus for the CCLP came from East Ayrshire Council’s Minerals Local Development Plan which focusses on regeneration and restoration, rather than just mineral extraction.  Adopted in January of this year, the CCLP is fully embedded within the Minerals Local Development Plan (MLDP) and will work with other initiatives to improve the coalfields area over the lifetime of the Plan.

Cllr Roberts, Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said

‘I am absolutely delighted that the application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been successful.  This is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work over the last 2 year from the CCLP team and of course our passionate and committed community partners, without whom the Partnership just would not work.  I am excited to see the marvellous mix of projects as they come to fruition over the next five years and I’m sure all our communities will benefit greatly from them.’

East Ayrshire Council is the lead Partner of the CCLP, the other Board members being East Ayrshire Leisure, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, Scottish National Heritage, Forest and Land Scotland, Central Scotland Green Network Trust and East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Ed Forrest from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere said “I’m thrilled to hear the great news that funding has been confirmed and really looking forward to our UNESCO Biosphere working with local communities and partners in delivering what will be a truly transformational project for the Coalfields area.”

Our community partners are also pleased to receive the support which will help deliver projects that they have been working on. The Rev John Patterson, Lugar Parish Church said “For five years the Kirk Session and congregation of Lugar Parish Church have been planning the development of the Church building, first donated to Lugar by Baird & son in 1867, so that it might be more relevant as a building and a resource today. Without ceasing to be a worship centre, phase two was proposed to be the internal development of the building to include a cafe, disabled toilets, disabled access and a heritage information centre concentrating on the immediate local area and such people as William Murdoch.  We in Lugar Church are most grateful to all partners inside and beyond the church for their encouragement and support. The bid to HLF through CCLP and East Ayrshire Council has been successful and the development of the church will commence soon, ensuring the building will be a continuing gift to Lugar that keeps giving as an asset to the whole community.”

National Lottery Heritage Fund site visit

In spite of the weather on the 28th of January the CCLP had our site visit (as part of our stage 2 bid) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). We started at the Community Hub in Ochiltree with short presentations from Sir James MacMillan (Cumnock Tryst) on the ‘Musical Celebration of the Coalfields’ project followed by Bruce Davidson (East Ayrshire Woodlands) talking about the ‘Land Management Apprentice’ project and Daisy Whytock (East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative) presenting on the ‘Perfect Peatlands’, Coalfield for Pollinators’ and Healthy East Ayrshire Rivers’ project.

We then took a short mini bus tour to Netherthird Community Garden (via Skares) where Jamie Campbell (Netherthird Community Action Training) talked about the ‘Hedge Row Habitats’ and we had a walk around the garden and saw the great work that is going on.

We then took the mini bus to Lugar Parish Church where we were introduced to the ‘Lugar Heritage Centre’ project by Mrs Marion Wylie, Rev John Paterson and Mrs Isabel Campbell.

The Parish Church has a very interesting history. The building was built by Baird & Co as part of the steel factory which was once on the site where the church now is. It was built as an engine room where the railway engines, used to transport the steel from Lugar to its destination, were inspected and maintained. When the steel factory moved the building was gifted to the people of Lugar to enable the workers in the factory and the residents of Lugar to worship. It has been a place of worship, now maintained under the auspices of the Church of Scotland, for 152 years.

We then returned to Ochiltree for lunch and a question and answer session. We had a good attendance from our enthusiastic and passionate project partners and all felt the visit went well.

The NLHF visitors found the visit very useful and have thanked all the partners for coming along and making their trip to East Ayrshire an enjoyable and worthwhile visit.

Further information about the CCLP can be found on our website

Fingers crossed for a positive result when the NLHF committee meet on 5th March2020.