Thursday, 26 April 2012

Heartlands

Last Friday I attended the launch of Heartlands at Pool. The weather was a little unsettled for the parade, which was supported by over 800 young people from local schools, but nothing could dampen spirits among those present. This is an extraordinary success story which is a tribute to the perseverance of all those involved over the last ten years. The contribution that this part of Cornwall made to mining around the world is second to none and is celebrated at Heartlands. There is something for everyone, ranging from the best adventure playground I have ever seen, which was partly designed by students at Pool School, to the Diaspora Botanical Gardens which have a number of themed gardens with plants from around the world to signify the journey that Cornish miners took in the late 19th century to areas as diverse as the United States, South America, New Zealand and South Africa. Then there is a 270 degree film projection which tells the story of Cornish mining and many other attractions, including a modern depiction of the Red River. But this site is not just a tourist attraction. There is also workspace for small businesses and a plan for a regular farmers’ market. There are also some amazing conferencing facilities and a mixture of housing for local people. Those behind this project always wanted it to be something first and foremost for the local community but which would also become an attraction for those outside our towns and, judging by the local support they enjoyed on Friday and the weekend, they have got the balance just right. In the speeches on the opening evening, the one thing that stood out was that this project was very much a joint effort and lots of people played a role along the way. Many of the current trustees have been involved from the very start. Malcolm Moyle has been there from the very conception of the idea to its launch and his work is still not done! So he deserves a special mention. Then there was consistent support from Cornwall councillors such as Carolyn Rule and others from the former Kerrier District Council who got the ball rolling. Local schools were also fully engaged and students from Pool School contributed to the design of the adventure play area. Scott James, the project manager from Cornwall Council was also involved from an early stage and took responsibility for delivering the project with the support of what was clearly a very able team. This project received significant public funding, especially from the National Lottery Heritage Fund but I think it will have enormous value to the local community and is a major confidence boost to the area which I very much hope will spread. George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.