Tonight’s Nikky Fox piece on the number of ex-miners who are suffering invisibly from illness and/or disability, on the BBC News, brought into sharp focus that many ex-miners like those in our own community have been largely forgotten by the government. As a result i have tried to build a quick help sheet, designed not to be comprehensive but to merely guide people who need help to the people who can help them. Alongside national and regional organisations i have included some local organisations who may also be useful. Please let me know if there is any other way i can update this sheet to help locals. I really hope this proves to be useful to our community.
The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation have fully trained and DBS checked staff on hand to offer advice and representation for ex-miners suffering from illness or disability. Home visits are available when needed and a number of convalescent homes are available across Yorkshire for ex-miners and their partners who need a period of recuperation following an illness or operation. The nearest Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation office is in Pontefract, their telephone number is 01977 703384. Most government schemes to claim for illnesses and disabilities caused by working within the coal industry have now closed, though claims through the Coal Industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme may still be open to you. To claim or for more information call 0844 984 0190. Please note, if you make a claim under this scheme you won’t be able to make a claim through the courts. You may also still be able to claim for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, if you became ill or disabled through working in the mining industry. Please call the Barnsley office on 0345 758 5433 for a claim form or to discuss whether this benefit is still available to you. Alternatively, claim forms for benefits for industrial disease are available via the National Union of Mineworkers website. Their Barnsley office can be contacted on 01226 215555. If you feel you and your family would see their health benefit from being more active but are on a limited budget Reverse The Cycle is a non-profit organisation, targeting families and young people (aged 8yrs – 25yrs) from underprivileged and marginalised backgrounds. They also provide servicing, repairs and sales (at very reasonable prices). Contact them by calling 01977 625425. If you have a disability you may be entitled to government help, please visit the government website for information on what you may be entitled to.
Help with benefits and disability claims is available from fully DBS checked staff from the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation. Call the Pontefract office on 01977 703384 for information about what help you may expect to receive. If you were employed within the mining industry in a non-manual position, employed by a coal merchant or within an allied trade financial support and advice may be available from the Coal Trade Benevolent Association. The association have a Yorkshire branch and can be contacted on 020 7278 3239, volunteer case visitors may be ailable. Please note, the Coal Trade Benevolent Association can not help ex-miners who were employed in manual positions. You may be eligible for the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme, a government scheme to benefit ex employees of either the National Coal Board or British Coal Board and their widowers and widows. Call 0845 759 0529 for information and to claim. For general benefits claims call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 or Hemsworth Jobcentre on 0345 604 3719. It is strongly advised that you consult the benefits calculator online at http://www.gov.uk to see exactly what benefits you are entitled to. The Bag Fairies supply clothes, household items and other essentials to families who need a helping hand, best yet no referral is needed, please contact 07709614789 for details. Similarly Tiny Hands collect baby clothes, toiletries, equipment, cots, prams and toys that are pre-loved, and pass them on to families in need. Their service is provided for free and all donations go directly to the families that they support. Call 07754273207 for details.
If you claim a miners’ pension the National Union of Mineworkers Barnsley office may be able to offer advice, call them on 01226 215555. The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme provide pension benefits provide benefits for almost 178,000 members nationwide, they can be contacted on 0345 606 4444.
The Miners’ Welfare National Education Fund can offer an award to miners, ex-miners and their dependants to assist with further education.
‘A’ Candidates – persons who are employed in the coal mining industry of Great Britain, persons who were employed in the coal mining industry and who have taken up full time further education within 5 years of having left the mining industry, persons who ceased to be employed in the mining industry of Great Britain by reason of age or disability.
‘B’ Candidates – the dependent sons and daughters or other dependants of any employee of the coal mining industry or former employee providing that that individual either:
(a) left by virtue of age or ill health and had no further employment; or
(b) who left the industry having completed 20 years of employment.
Applicants must not be less than 17 years of age at the commencement of the academic year for which the grant is requested.
Applications will be accepted in respect of any of the designated full time courses of education for which Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales or the Student Awards Agency Scotland is available. Such courses require two passes at the Advanced Level of the General Certificate of Education or equivalent for entry.
Please contact the Secretary of the Fund at The Old Rectory, Rectory Drive, Whiston, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 4JG. Phone 01709 728115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Citizens Advice Bureau
It is strongly advised to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03444 111 444 for support or assistance with any of the topics covered here. The Wakefield and District branch meet weekly in South Kirkby and Moorthorpe on Thursdays, 10am to 1pm, at Moorthorpe Railway Station. Meetings are also held in South Elmsall on Tuesdays, 10am to 1pm, at the Westfield Resource Centre.