Media Release: Here comes the bride, in her local Miners’ Welfare

THE Coalfields Social Enterprise Network is to hold a Development for Growth conference in a flagship Miners Welfare which has taken its first steps to becoming a wedding venue.

Over 100 delegates are expected to attend the conference at Blantyre Miners Community Resource Centre on March 26, with MSP Cathy Jamieson making the keynote address.

Blantyre has already held a Wedding Show which attracted over 100 brides-to-be, included a catwalk fashion show from House of Fraser featuring Miss Scotland, and hopes to hold its first ever wedding in the next few months.

The CSEN Development for Growth conference will cover marketing, legal structures, how the network of ten miners welfares and two miners retirement homes can use their combined buying power to negotiate better deals with suppliers.

Diane Cameron the organisation’s acting development officer, said: “Miners Welfares have reinvented themselves in a way that most people wouldn’t believe.

“Many have become the hub of their local communities, providing one stop shop services that include access to job centre plus and citizens advice, computer cafes, gyms and social facilities.

“Coalburn Miner’s Welfare took over the local Post Office when it closed down and provides the village with its only bank cash point.

“Blantyre, as a new build state of the art centre is the flagship of the modern breed of Miners Welfares and that’s why we chose it as the venue for our conference.”

Gerry Baldwin, the Blantyre Miners Welfare Community Centre manager, said: “This is a fantastic £2m conversion and extension of the original Miners Welfare facility which we are determined to put at the heart of the local community.

“We already offer a full range of community services from helping local people with employment support to hosting a thriving boxing club. We only opened 18 months ago, and now over 1,000 people a week use our facilities.

“We believe our large vaulted main hall will be ideal for weddings. Over 500 people attended our recent wedding show, and we are just waiting for our first bride-to-be to take the plunge and entrust us to make a success of her big day, from the ceremony right through to the reception.”

Joe Thomas, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which provided grant support to Blantyre, the CSEN and other miner’s welfares, said: “Traditionally Miners Welfares were the social centres of mining villages.

“Many went through really hard times when the industry collapsed, but they are now making a fantastic comeback, and we are delighted to support their development, which meets our core objective of putting the heart back into these communities.”


Note to Editors:

  1. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust was formed in 1999 to help mining communities recover from the devastating effects of pit closures. Since then, the Trust has spent over £15m in Scotland supporting over 500 community-based and job creation projects in the hardest hit areas.

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