Community Project Press Release by Public Relations Agency, Holyrood Partnership. Banks Group make the most of their local spirit.

by Stuart Milne

Monday, October 31st, 2016

rev-robert-malloch-judy-robb-and-mark-dowdall by Public Relations Agency

A West Lothian church that serves as a social hub for the whole community has had a chance to redecorate thanks to a generous grant of £3,000 awarded by the Banks Community Fund.

Breich Valley Church, which was built 12 years ago, was in need of decoration both inside, and out, following its regular and frequent use by the local community.

Thanks to this sizeable contribution, the church was able to make much needed improvements to help the space continue to offer a place for everyone to congregate and enjoy social activities.

The Banks Rusha Community Fund is a fund set up by Banks Mining, the family-owned mining business, to support community groups and voluntary organisations and environmental projects in the vicinity of Banks’ Rusha surface mine south of Breich, West Lothian.

The church, which serves a parish of more than 5,000 people across four villages, has welcomed the backing which will allow weddings, dances, pensioners lunches, children’s holiday clubs, and other events to continue in a cared for and well maintained place.

The Minister Robert Malloch said “Since it was built as a hall church, it has become a busy place from week to week.

The congregation roll is around 200+ at the moment, many of whom will attend worship every Sunday. We have many others using the building for a number of things throughout the week and of course people much prefer a well maintained building, with the church being as pleasant a place to be as possible.

“We very much appreciate the support of Banks Community Fund in helping us to do that.”

As a community space it remains an integral part of the church’s fundraising efforts with both hall hire and their own fundraising events contributing to the upkeep and running of the church.

“We are lucky enough to host quite a few weddings and we, of course, want everyone’s big day to be as perfect as possible, right down to the finest details. The same goes for all of our visitors, we want the church to be as pleasant a place to be as possible.”

As the community base, the church hall remains an integral part of the church’s fundraising efforts with both hall hire and their own fundraising events contributing to the upkeep and running of the church.

From the weekly lunch clubs and choir practises to more grand events like weddings and ceilidhs the villages make excellent use of the facilities on offer.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “We’re delighted to help Breich Valley Church with the grant to redecorate. It’s very obvious that the hall is not just used by the group but by the entire community.

“We aim to deliver long term positive benefits to the local communities that host our developments and in this part of West Lothian we are pleased to have supported improving facilities to promote a better quality of community life.”

The Banks Community Fund was established to support community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the Banks Group’s developments, ensuring that local communities share the benefits from Banks presence in the area.

The Rusha surface mine, to the west of West Calder, started production in 2012 and restoration works are now being progressed.

The Banks Group estimates that the Rusha surface mine has contributed more than £5 million to the local economy every year, over the last few years, through wages and supply chain contracts.

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