Ex-Mansfield miners campaign for investigation into CISWO

Former Thoresby Colliery miner Mick Newton.
Former Thoresby Colliery miner Mick Newton.

Former miners from Mansfield have started a campaign calling on the Government to investigate the administration of CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation).

The move follows the gradual closure and sale of facilities and clubs which were set up by miners in the halcyon days of the industry.

The Mineworkers Social Welfare Campaign set up by miner’s pension fund campaigner Mick Newton wants to return governance of facilities to former mining communities.

It currently has more than 1,200 signatures supporting it on an online petition.

Mr Newton said: “We are asking the Government to stop the erosion and closure of valued health care, convalescence and recreational facilities currently Governed by CISWO.

“We also seek to return the Governance of services provided by CISWO to the mineworkers and their communities, to create greater transparency and accountability.

Clipstone Miners Welfare could close and its assets could be sold off . If that happens it could lose its youth club, pensioner’s club, bowls club and cricket club. There are similar problems at Rainworth and Bilsthorpe. It is a critical time for the futures of our welfares. We need CISWO to come together with the trustees and make a development plan for their futures rather than closing them one by one .

“Warsop lost their welfare and cricket pitch. Where does the money go - why isn’t it being reinvested in these communities?”CISWO was set up with mineworkers paying on a weekly basis.

We want to see a return of the governance of these facilities from CISWO back to the former mining communities.

these closures are far too predatory - CISWO is still quite a wealthy organisation .

“I believe it has £30 million in the bank.”

A CISWO spokesman said: “We are working with miners’ welfare charities across the country, including at Clipstone, to help them continue to deliver these much-loved services in their local communities. CISWO does not govern local welfare facilities – that lies with the local trustees of each individual charity whose role it is to also provide the day-to-day operations and financial management of the facility. We would welcome conversations with any charities that may be experiencing difficulties so we can provide support as early as possible to secure their long-term future. CISWO’s aim is to support the continuation of recreational facilities and we invest significant resources in doing that.

“Miners welfares are independent charities and, as such, any surplus income made by the charity can be used by them to enable them to meet their charitable purpose. As charities however, they are prohibited by UK charity law to invest charitable funds in retaining commercial activity.

“Where local trustees have to take the decision to close facilities, we will at ways to protect recreational land, disposing of it is always the last resort. Any money raised from land sales is reinvested into our operations to directly support former mineworkers and their families, through projects like our personal welfare service which last year supported more than 10,000 people in former mining communities.”

The spokesman added that CISWO does support miners’ welfare charities and categorically does not have a policy – deliberate or otherwise – to run down miners’ welfares to ‘sell off’.

It has no involvement in the day to day running of welfares other than to offer advice and support.

He said; “CISWO and the local MP (Mark Spencer) have met with Clipstone Miners Welfare to offer support around developing a business plan. As of today, we have not seen any plan from the charity and we’re encouraging them to continue dialogue with us.”