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More good news for the Coalfield communities

Last month’s news that the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) had won £2.2 million in funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund over the next 5 years, was just part of the story for the organisation which is set to transform the landscape, economy and quality of life for former coalfield communities in East Ayrshire.

CCLP staff and community partners are continuing to work hard to raise even more money for the successful delivery of the 22 projects included in the partnership.

The CCLP has now secured £67,904 from the Organisational Support Fund run by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). This will support two exciting projects, Coalfield Place Names and Life in the Lost Villages, which will capture and celebrate the heritage of the CCLP area. This boost has has sparked a call for local people to get involved.

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES, said: ‘We are delighted to support Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership to help them explore and celebrate the heritage of the local area. By engaging the local community and former residents to find out what life was like in the historic Row Villages, CCLP will be able to record and document the intangible history of these remarkable places.’

The Coalfield Place Names project will be led by Glasgow University. The names of our towns, villages and landscape features are a window through which we can better understand our past. This project will harness local interest in the subject of place names, to create a coherent volume of work that aligns with national activities in this field and acts as best practice guidance on the subject.

The Life in the Lost Village, an Oral History project, will be led by Strathclyde University. The ‘Row Villages’ in the East Ayrshire coalfields are a remarkable and distinctive man-made feature in the landscape. When they were built they played a vital role but could not survive the exhaustion of the mineral resources they were built to exploit. However, traces of these row villages remain and they are of real importance not only to the Cumnock and Doon Valley area, but to the industrial history and heritage of Scotland as a whole.

This oral history project aims to capture the history of life in the Row Villages and the impact of de-industrialisation by exploring in depth the so-called lost villages of Lethanhill, Burnfoot and Benquhat in the Doon Valley and Commondyke and Darnconner in the Lugar Valley.

The CCLP wants to hear from any former residents of these villages or their families. They want to hear any stories to or memories about what these villages were like. Former residents of Glenbuck will also be interviewed as part of the project.

‘As a CCLP partner, I look forward to working on this exciting academic/community alliance and to delivering a major community oral history programme providing capacity-building training, recording, researching and preserving the memories of those in the East Ayrshire 'lost villages’’ said Professor Arthur McIvor, Director of the Scottish Oral History Project at Strathclyde University.

Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet member for Economy and Infrastructure, East Ayrshire Council, said: ‘This confirmation of grant funding from Historic Environment Scotland is another really exciting step forward for the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership. Our former coalfields have a rich and fascinating heritage – it’s vital that we record and retain this heritage so it is not lost for future generations. These two projects will help to make sure that this does not happen and I would encourage all residents and communities who are interested in the projects to get in touch with the CCLP team.

‘They also provide a great opportunity for anyone interested in local history research and recording to volunteer and gain valuable experience, helping us capture a hugely important aspect of our cultural and industrial heritage.’

To take part in these projects please visit the CCLP website and use the volunteer form to sign up. The CCLP wants to capture the memories and stories from local people and also want to hear from anyone who would be interested in learning about and gaining new skills in researching and recording local history.

For further information on all the projects please visit

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