A COMMUNITY group’s members who look after Hemingfield Colliery are appealing for help after a drop in donations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were formed back in 2013 with a view to acquiring the site so that they could stop a decline in its services and eventually bring it back for community use.

Since then, the group has done a lot of work in terms of preserving the site - with volunteers helping restore the roof and keep the area clean and safe - though director Ian Hately admits the main aim of the group is to make it sustainable.

He said: “We originally created the fundraising page in a bid to raise the money that we would usually fundraise outside of lockdown.

“We have no revenue so all the money that we receive comes from trusts and grants, but they don’t cover overheads such as insurance and ongoing running costs, and with insurance going from £400 a year to £1,100 a year we are having to raise that money.

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“We’d usually host different stalls to raise the funds, but Covid-19 has stopped this which is why we looked to create the Just Giving page.”

A total of £345 has been raised to date, though Ian, 51, admits donations have stalled during the past few months which has led the group to advertise the page more on social media.

“We have raised £345 of our £1,000 target so far, but a lot of that came at the start of the campaign so we’re hoping that we are able to raise more in the future,” he added.

“We are really struggling at the minute due to the lockdown restrictions - realistically it’s about clawing enough money together every year to keep us open.

“It isn’t just about raising the money either, we’re always looking for more people who are interested in the site to get involved.

“We do have a good set of volunteers at the moment, but we’re always looking for more which is part of the reason we posted the appeal online.”

If you wish to donate to the appeal, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ian-hately.