Monday, July 23, 2012

News: Dearne Valley in line for lottery funding


The Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire is set for a £1.9m windfall after being earmarked for funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme.

The programme - which has been running for eight years - is the most significant grant scheme available for landscape-scale projects. The Dearne Valley is one of 13 projects that will provide long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for rural areas.

The project aims to reconnect local people in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster with the unique built, natural and cultural heritage of the area focusing on the unifying theme of industrial heritage. The project has been awarded a first-round pass of £1,882,000, including £89,500 of development funding.

Complementing conservation work will be a programme of community outreach, including oral history, exhibitions, workshops and festivals. A community forum will help energise existing and new volunteers with the aim of involving people in the development and implementation of the scheme.

Coal mining in the area began at least 200 years ago, but investment was rapidly made to exploit the many different seams of coal that lay under the Dearne Valley in order to supply thriving local steel and glass manufacturers during the industrial revolution. For instance, by the sinking of Denaby Colliery in 1866 and Manvers Main in 1870.

Manvers Main was often reputed to be the biggest, dirtiest coal complex anywhere in Britain. At one time it had the largest washery in Britain treating coking, gas and industrial coal at the rate of 1,320 tons per hour.

Few mining areas were as completely dependent on mining as the Dearne. In the 1981 Census the numbers employed within "coal extraction/manufacture of solid fuels" was 11,210. Today it is 0.

Through partnership work and securing significant funding, the former coalfields were reclaimed, as part of the UK's largest Enterprise Zone.

The area is now a significant employment site, home to companies such as Capita, Martek Marine and Virginia KMP, and a number of successful start up enterprises. Since the Dearne Valley was designated as an Enterprise Zone in 1995 it is estimated that around 10,000 jobs had been created in the area by 2002.

Following the regeneration of the area through inward investment and economic development, recent work has focussed on the environment.

The Dearne Valley eco-vision project aims to transform the former coal mining area into an exemplar of best practice in low carbon living and green technologies. The eco-vision offers great potential for businesses in helping them to "green" their business operations, find solutions to the problems of climate change and develop leading environmental technologies.

Earlier this year, the Dearne Valley was selected to become one of only 12 Nature Improvement Areas in the country, as part of a new government initiative.

Dearne Valley eco-vision project website



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