Strutts Logo Run by volunteers for Belper

Belper News Article 30/04/15

Strutts and the General Election

You may have noticed that we are fast approaching both general and local elections. It is vitally important that we all vote, as we the electorate suffer the consequences of the decisions that our politicians make. Whichever political parties are elected to power the outcome seems inevitably to be more austerity, which in the politics of today is a word that has come to mean not only the possibility of cuts to the funding for vital public services such as health and welfare, but also the certainty of cuts in non-essential areas that make the quality of our lives richer.

We as individuals cannot borrow to fund our everyday living expenses on a permanent basis and I fail to understand how governments of all persuasions seem to be able to achieve this. The founding principle for Strutts Community Centre was to make it self-funding for its running costs with no borrowings. We rely entirely on our users for income to keep the place open and the generosity of our volunteers who selflessly and freely give their time and expertise for the benefit of the community. Where available grants are used only to enhance the facilities and restore the building. Basically we balance the books and live within our means. In the uncertain political climate in which we find ourselves this is the only long term sustainable basis to operate.

In 2009 AVBC took the brave political decision to transfer the asset of the Herbert Strutt School site in Belper to our charity, the Guardians of Strutts, but without any financial support. Local authorities cannot run such a large community centre without imposing a significant financial burden on the ratepayers. The asset is effectively still in public ownership through a local charity run by local people who have a vested interest in its success. If we as a group of unpaid volunteers can achieve this I am convinced that other groups throughout Amber Valley could achieve similar results if given the opportunity.

You may be assured that, as long as the community of Belper supports it, whichever political party forms the government, Strutts will continue to flourish. Our community will be more resilient to political change and there is every chance that we will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

If you would like to help in any way with the Strutts Community Project please contact me, Nick McLeod, at Strutts tel: 01773 599993.

Nick McLeod

Chairman of Trustees

Guardians of Strutts