Cash boost is legacy of coal

Women working at the Paton & Baldwin thread and cotton factory in Bo'ness in January 1968
Women working at the Paton & Baldwin thread and cotton factory in Bo'ness in January 1968

Kinneil pit may have closed in 1983 and many other traditional Bo’ness industries like Paton and Baldwins and the potteries may have come and gone.

But, although a report by Sheffield Hallam University suggests some coal mining areas lag behind, it seems that Bo’ness is faring better than others - and the reason is its coal mining past.

With money and guidance from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, a five year plan was produced for Bo’ness and Blackness in 2013.

Full of good ideas and suggestions as to how inward investment might be used to promote community spirit and jobs over the next five years, it paints a picture of Bo’ness as a good place to live with good recreational facilities but suggests areas for improvement, such as the Town Hall and the Recreation Centre.

Madelene Hunt chairwoman of Bo’net, which promotes Bo’ness, explained that around £50,000 paid by the Trust at the beginning of 2013 has already been invested.

Projects have included a football club which needed new changing facilities, playgroups which needed new equipment and ramps installed at premises they use and the Apostolic Church which required a roof repair.

The group produced leaflets to highlight the area as a tourist destination.

Mrs Hunt said: ‘‘Anything that promotes the town may indirectly support employment here.”

So does all of this investment translate into jobs? If national research shows that this area should have more unemployment than others then is that true?

Local company Sanctus Media is retained by the Trust to produce a film about the Bo’ness potteries.

A spokesman for the company: ‘‘The funding has definitely been useful for us. We are going to document the town’s history which people can then add to themselves.”