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Strutts Community Centre

Belper News Article 08/08/14

Strutts and the Community

In 1909 the Herbert Strutt School was given to benefit the people of Belper using the wealth generated locally, over 200 years, by the Strutt family from the cotton industry. This gift was commemorated by a public subscription from the grateful people of Belper, which commissioned a statue of him that can be seen today in the main Strutts Hall. The old school building, which is now the Strutts Community Centre, is a legacy from the past economic prosperity of the town.

My last article included concerns over the progressive loss of industrial land to housing in Belper, and the detrimental effect on the future economic development of the town. Now we are told of proposals to change the designation of land at Bullsmoor from commercial use to yet more residential development, and without plans to improve local facilities.

All householders pay taxes and domestic rates, and, in return, expect the public services that a modern society needs. However, we also need investment in our infrastructure, and today, without philanthropic industrialists, we look to our local government to provide and maintain public facilities. With the current economic climate our local authorities seem unable to allocate funding for any such projects in Belper.

In particular, I understand that there are further delays in funding the Belper River Gardens Swiss Tea Rooms replacement. We have all enjoyed the delights of the River Gardens, as the “jewel in the crown” of Belper's open spaces, which was also a legacy from George Herbert Strutt. With its popular children's playground it needs the Tea Rooms to complete the facilities as the top local amenity in a World Heritage site.

The volunteers at Strutts Community Centre are an example of local people providing much needed facilities and services for their own community. Our charity, the Guardians of Strutts, was given the building and we are providing a self-funded community centre for the people of Belper, at no cost to the rate payers. This could be an option for other local facilities, but it will need more local people to come forward and volunteer their time and skills to make it happen.

You can make a difference, we have at Strutts.

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