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Targeted regeneration could be key to boosting coalfield communities
Date:5/16/2011

Decades after the pit closures, coalfield communities still face significant health problems and economic difficulties, according to new research.

A Durham University-led study shows that health problems including long term limiting illnesses such as chronic arthritis, asthma and back problems, are significantly more likely in some of these areas.

However, the results, published in the Journal, Health and Place, also reveal that some less deprived coalfield areas are faring relatively well in terms of health.

Some of these areas seem to have weathered the economic storm better in terms of health, suggesting that regeneration efforts and resilience of local communities may be helpful for health and wellbeing, as well as for the economy and jobs.

The findings reinforce calls for increased and more focussed government assistance, particularly in poorer, predominantly rural coalfield communities.

Co-author of the Durham study, Professor Sarah Curtis, Department of Geography, said: "Coalfield areas vary considerably and it's essential that government policy recognises the different levels of support that are needed and helps the areas with the greatest need.

"Some mining communities have struggled and need more assistance, whilst others have fared quite well, demonstrating considerable resilience in the wake of the huge job losses that affected these regions.

"A lot can be learnt from the success stories and regeneration schemes that have worked well. It will be helpful to share knowledge about the conditions fostering that success."

Researchers at Durham University's Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, the Dalhousie University, Canada, and Teesside University, looked at self-rated outcomes for health in a national survey of 26,100 individuals. These include 4,750 people from the country's 55 coalfield areas, who were compared with others in the survey living in other are
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Contact: Carl Stiansen
c.r.stiansen@durham.ac.uk
44-191-334-6077
Durham University
Source:Eurekalert  

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