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Bob Neill: Cash injection to support coalfield communities into the future

Published 26 January 2012

Communities Minister Bob Neill has today confirmed a further £22million to help former coalfield communities get back on their feet and secure economic growth for years to come.

The funding will be allocated to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust over two years to 2015 and will be used to transform it into a self-sustaining organisation so it can continue to champion the interests and needs of coalfield communities - without being reliant on Government funding.

This £22 million cash injection is on top of the £30 million already confirmed for this year and next.

Today's announcement comes as the Coalfields Regeneration Trust launches a new Skills Factory in East Kent, to help local people into new employment.

Backed with £200,000 funding from the Trust, the Skills Factory based in Aylesham will help provide training in sought-after skills to meet local demand.

Communities Minister Bob Neill said:

"I am delighted to be able to announce a further £22 million to secure the long-term future of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. We will be looking to the Trust to move its focus quickly to generating its own income streams. Its work is vital in supporting former coalfield areas as local people look to develop new skills and start new careers.

"The launch of today's Skills Factory in East Kent is another shining example of the Trust's work - helping people into work in an area still blighted by long-term unemployment. I look forward to seeing the fruits of the Trust's labours as they look to secure the long-term economic future of these former coalfield areas."

Peter McNestry Chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust said:

"The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is pleased to be given the opportunity to continue its valuable and much needed work in coalfield communities. This further Government funding will enable us to work hard to secure the Trust's long term sustainability. We're looking forward to the challenge of a new way of working and will continue to provide real opportunities to coalfield residents to improve their lives and their communities."

Notes to editors

1. Grant Shapps announced £30 million on 10 March 2011 to support the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. This was for first two years of the Spending Review Period (2011/12 and 2012/13). The further £22 million confirmed today is for 2013/14 (£12 million) and 2014/15 (£10 million). This funding was conditional upon the Trust producing an agreed Business Plan setting out an exit strategy for the Trust from 2015, after which the Trust will no longer receive funding from DCLG. The Trust's Business Plan for 2011 and beyond outlines how the Trust intends to transform itself into a self-sustaining organisation from 2015. Further details are available from the Trust (telephone - 01709 765 584).

2. The Skills Factory - an employability and personal development initiative - is an extension to the Trust's Family Employment Initiative and National Apprenticeship Programme. The Trust's investment in the Skills Factory is £210,345. Additional funding is being provided by Aylesham Neighbourhood Project, Aylesham and District Community Workshop Trust, and Dover, Deal and Sandwich Children's Centres.

3. The Skills Factory is delivered by Aylesham Neighbourhood Project, a charitable company which aims to enable people to achieve their potential, feel healthy and happy and be part of their local community. Based in Aylesham, the Skills Factory operates across the former East Kent coalfield areas. A key aspect of the initiative is to work in partnership with local skills and employment bodies. 

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