Campaign launched to save holiday retreat home for Derbyshire miners

Steven Kerry is the miners' home can be saved.
Steven Kerry is the miners' home can be saved.

A Chesterfield man is 
campaigning to save a ‘vital’ holiday retreat used by 
Derbyshire miners to recover from illness.

The Derbyshire Miners’ Convalescent Home has been based on the seafront in Skegness since 1939.

But it has been announced that the home, which is run by charity The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO), is to close in autumn.

Steven Kerry, 47, whose dad Clifford worked in the mining industry at Morton and Markham Vale pits, said: “It is a place for ex-miners to go and have a holiday to recover and do what they want to do.”

Mr Kerry said his dad Clifford, who sadly passed away 12 years ago, would have been distraught at the closure.

“My dad was a miner for 45 years in Derbyshire,” Mr Kerry said. “If he was here he would want to help and fight to keep it open.

“We want to keep it open and it would be brilliant if that could happen.”

According to CISWO, ‘the home has enjoyed a seafront location in Skegness since 1939 and the home became as much a part of the everyday life of the average Derbyshire miner as any other aspect of the industry’.

Information listed by the Charity Commission, up to December 31, 2017, states that CISWO’s income was £3.7m and spending at £4.6m.

Chris Kitchen, of the National Union of Mineworkers, said that while the retreat is still well used CISWO should be looking to keep it open.

He added: “The NUM Yorkshire area has a holiday home in Scalby outside Scarborough which costs the area to keep open, as it runs at a loss, but because it is well used and of benefit to former NUM Yorkshire area members we will continue to keep it open.

“I will shortly write to Nicola Didlock, CEO of CISWO, to express the concern of the NUM to the closure of the Derbyshire Miners’ holiday home and ask what other use CISWO intend to put the funds of the charity to.”

The CEO of CISWO, Nicola Didlock, said: “The decision to close the miners’ retreat has not been made lightly or without extensive consideration by the charity’s board of trustees. However, with reducing numbers of holiday-makers each year, and the increasing costs of retaining the building to meet the needs of the client group, it is felt that closure is sadly necessary. We are assessing the needs of former miners who have accessed the retreat who may have issues such as ill health or a disability and will be offering them support through CISWO’s personal welfare service.”

An online petition to save the retreat received more than 400 signatures in one day.

See the petition here