This article appeared as a column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th April 2017.
It’s rare that one of our local villages gets to celebrate two pieces of great news in quick succession.
But Elsecar is in just that fortunate position after landing a share of a £1.2 million grant - and being recognised as one of the country’s first ten areas to get special heritage status.
Thanks to a partnership between Barnsley and Rotherham councils, Elsecar and Wentworth will share the cash from the Lottery-funded 'Great Place' scheme to lay on activities and events based on the rich history of the villages and boost economic growth in the area.
Elsecar has also been selected as one of England’s first ten 'Heritage Action Zones'. That means Historic England will work with the BMBC and local groups to fully unlock the village’s potential to draw in even more visitors.
Elsecar Heritage Centre is one of the jewels in Barnsley’s cultural crown, attracting thousands of visitors. And Elsecar Heritage Railway, of which i'm the proud patron, is another gem that has exciting plans to expand.
The promise of investment and expertise to build on their rich history should bring more money and tourists to the area. I hope it will also mean more opportunities for locals and people in Barnsley.
The recent success of Elsecar is down to those who worked so hard including the local groups and our local councillors Robin Franklin, Tim Shepherd and Mick Stowe.
It’s been quite a turnaround since the 1980s when Elsecar Main shut down under the Thatcher government and left us facing massive challenges.
Like any other village in Barnsley, of course Elsecar has its fair share of problems and need for continued improvement. But I'm really proud of the area.
It shows what can be achieved when we draw with pride on our heritage, but work together and look with confidence to the future.
I'm often quick to point out the problems we face in our area and where I think the Government is letting us down or leaving us short-changed. That's my job in Parliament. But it's also my privilege to be able to celebrate success.
So well done Elsecar.