Strutts Logo Run by volunteers for Belper

Belper News - 22nd March 2013

The Strutts Community Project

The Strutts Community Centre opened on 23rd September 2009 in the old Herbert Strutt School building, opposite Babington Hospital in Belper. It is now owned by a charity called the Guardians of Strutts and it is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of the people of Belper. The trustees, and volunteers, are all local people who care passionately about the building and the community of Belper. The primary aims of the Project are to provide self funded facilities for community activities at the site and to restore the building to its former glory.

This fine Grade II Listed, stone building was originally given as a school to Derbyshire County Council by George Herbert Strutt in 1909. It served Belper well for over 100 years and built up a reputation for high academic standards. When a new Primary School was built on the former Parks site in 2007 the original Strutt School building was surplus to requirements, and responsibility for it passed to Amber Valley Borough Council. The Belper Civic Forum launched a campaign to retain the building as a community facility rather than disposing of it for residential property development. Fortunately both Derbyshire County Council and Amber Valley Borough Council were persuaded that the greatest benefit to the town was to pass ownership to the Guardians of Strutts charity for use as a community centre.

From a standing start, with no funds or equipment, the Strutts Community Centre has steadily grown as a home for a wide range of community activities. The running of the Centre is funded entirely from the fees it charges the users and the services it provides, such as book sales, catering and a bar. There are over 20 rooms for hire, which range in size from small staff rooms, to classrooms, up to former laboratories and the largest is the impressive central Hall. There is now on site parking for around 100 cars. Over 130 different groups have used the centre with around 700 people visiting Strutts each week.

There is tremendous potential to develop this valuable community asset further. The current residents of Belper have a unique opportunity to create a lasting legacy for future generations, but they need to take an active part in the Project. Currently it takes over 10,000 volunteer hours a year just to keep the Centre open, and without this effort the Project is not financially viable. It is very rewarding to see the site adapted for its new uses, but we need more volunteers to run the Centre especially in Reception and with the restoration. If you can help please contact Strutts Reception on 01773 599993 or email reception@strutts.org.uk

Thanks

Nick McLeod
Chairman of Trustees
Guardians of Strutts