By Nick McLeod
Stutts Community Centre
We opened Strutts as a Community Centre in Belper on September 23, 2009, and this month marks our fifth anniversary. This is a fantastic achievement by a group of local people who started out with nothing but the passion to make a difference for the benefit of their community. Since those early days we have successfully turned a redundant building into a major asset for the benefit of the people of Belper.
We have had few comments lately by new visitors to Strutts that the building “looks a bit shabby” with its peeling paint and scuffed floors. This is true, but I would like to take this opportunity to explain why and how the project is funded.
We are an independent body with no paid staff and rely entirely upon volunteers. We fund the operating costs primarily from hiring out rooms and any surplus is spent on the building and facilities. The pace of progress depends upon the amount of cash generated and the available effort of our volunteers. Our first priority remains to make the building watertight, and only then can we move on to the inside, the part that is seen. Unfortunately the facilities have to take second place, but we have made some notable progress, for example, with the new kitchen off the hall which will improve our ability to provide refreshments at major events.
The use being made of the building is remarkable, as shown with a recent packed house in the hall for the public meeting over the issue of the proposal to build houses at Bullsmoor. This week we hosted the Amber Valley CAMRA beer festival, which is the biggest event at Strutts.
These occasions illustrate the potential benefit to the community of Belper that Strutts Community Centre can offer as a focus for local activities.
All this would not have been possible without the users of the centre, be they community groups or businesses, we would not be able to fund the centre. I thank you all for your support.
I would also like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of my fellow trustees and all the volunteers who have made all this possible. Belper should be proud of their efforts and the community centre that Strutts has become.
If you would like to help in any way with the Strutts Community Project please contact me, Nick McLeod, at Strutts on 01773 599993.