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

as across England. They found that people living in coalfield communities were 27 per cent more likely to report having a limiting long term illness.

Between 1984 and 1997, 170,000 people lost their jobs in coalmining as pits closed across England and male employment in the English coalfield area fell by twenty-five per cent.

Pit closures left coalfield communities with many problems including environmental degradation, economic disadvantage, social deprivation and poor health outcomes. These have been exacerbated in some places by physical isolation, poor road access and inadequate infrastructures.

A recent government study, the Clapham Review, highlighted the need to tackle coalfield inequalities. The government has launched a 30m fund to provide assistance over two years via the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT). The fund aims to help the most challenged coalfield areas to become self-sustaining communities, overcome health and skills inequalities, and develop their own plans for economic growth and community renewal.

The results of the Durham-led research show that while significant problems remain, particularly in some of the more deprived coalfield areas, other areas have fared much better.

Professor Curtis added: "Communities that 'bounced back' from the pit closures of the 1980s may have been more able to adapt and may have had more local resources to overcome the job losses that hit them. The aim of regeneration is to help all mining communities to do this."

The researchers emphasise that better economic conditions, well-being and health go hand-in-hand and believe that their research could help to identify areas that might benefit the most from regeneration especially from initiatives like the CRT.

Andy Lock, Assistant Director at the Coalfields Regeneration Trust said: "The study confirms our experience of working in coalfields over the last ten years. We know that health problems are st
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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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