Arson-hit group in funding bid

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A youth club, which is developing plans for a new home after its previous base was destroyed by arsonists, has applied for a grant from Belper Town Council.

The Blue Box youth group was based at a single storey building on Park Road until it was devastated by fire last August.

Last week an application to demolish the remaining building was approved by council leaders at Amber Valley Borough Council’s planning board meeting.

Blue Box, which has been running for three years, has now applied for a grant of £25,000 from Belper Town Council as members and staff look to press ahead with plans for a new building on the same site.

In an application for funding sent to the town council, Blue Box chairman Tom Wyke said: “The Blue Box Community Organisation is committed to supporting the fundraising for this project, in order to improve the lives of young people on the Parks Estate.

“The young people will once again have a facility that they can call their own.

“This will have a wider community benefit as the young people are less likely to be causing anti-social behaviour as well as the building potentially being able to be used by other local community groups.”

The group also sent out a letter to Parks Estate residents, informing them of the situation.

Tom added: “The facility is now unusable, which is a devastating blow to the young people who feel they’ve lost their youth club.

“Plans to replace the building are ongoing, but in the meantime a provision has continued from a mobile van. However, this has its limitations, especially during winter, and the attendance levels of young people has fallen.

“Ultimately, a new building is required, which can be safe, warm and accessible for sessions and activities to be hosted from.”

Derbyshire police issued an appeal for information following the blaze last August, as reported in the Belper News at the time.

A police statement said that the fire service had extinguished the blaze by the time officers arrived at the scene.

“A fire investigation was carried out and the fire was deemed to be started deliberately,” it said.

“The fire is thought to have been started the night before.”

The issue of funding a grant for the Blue Box group was due to be discussed at a Belper Town Council meeting last night (Tuesday), prior to the Belper News going to press.