Locals to benefit as mining group launches community fund

May 30, 2014 | Bankrigg News

A fund which aims to pump up to £150,000 into a West Lothian community has gone live.

Now groups are being invited to apply for cash, with an emphasis on benefitting children, older people and other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.

The Rusha Surface Coal Mine Community Fund will pay out up to £5000 a time to deserving charities, groups, projects and activities in the Fauldhouse and Breich Valley Ward.  The priority will be for projects in Breich and benefiting the community closest to the Rusha site.

Groups or voluntary organisations from other neighbouring settlements including Fauldhouse, Longridge, Stoneyburn and Addiewell areas may also apply for grants provided that they demonstrate that residents from the area around our Rusha site and from Breich also benefit from the project.

Mark Dowdall, our environment and community director said:  “Every load of coal which leaves the site helps Scotland enjoy a secure and reliable energy supply.

“More than that, we are proud to say that every consignment also adds money to a fund to help make a lasting benefit to the local community.

“Our development with care approach is the foundation of what we do and enables us to deliver benefits for the local community, the local environment and for the local economy groups from our work in the area.

“One of the very best ways to do that is through a fund like this, where local people agree with us exactly how the money is best invested to deliver a positive community impact.

“I’m especially pleased that we are now able to invite applications from local groups, charities and projects.”

The fund can be used for everything from church hall repairs to community garden schemes while charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations all being urged to apply.

Applications will be assessed by a specially formed, six-strong panel including representatives from Breich Community Council, local residents and representatives from Banks Mining.

Those applications which are considered to deliver the greatest community benefit will qualify for cash grants. The approvals process is expected to take weeks rather than months in most cases.

The Rusha site will be worked for seven years and fully restored by Banks Mining. It is expected to yield up to 1.5 million tonnes of coal.

Mr Dowdall added: “We know from past experience the positive impact the community fund can have.

“There have been similar mining projects at Bankrigg near Falkirk, and at Morningside in Lanarkshire, where community fund money helped build a play park among other things.”

The community fund benefits are on top of the jobs boost the site has delivered to the local area, as Rusha has already created around 50 jobs, many filled by local people living in surrounding communities.

For more information on the Rusha project please click here

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