Hall set to re-open its doors

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An enterprising Belper pair are set to throw open the doors of the town’s old Salvation Army Hall next week.

George Jones and Pippa Mansel are re-launching the Market Place venue - which has been closed for two years - as a not-for-profit social enterprise.

The sixty-person capacity hall will provide a community space in the centre of the town, available for hire to groups, businesses and individuals.

Pippa said: “We are very excited about being able to offer a quality space connected so directly to the town centre. We hope that people will see this as an opportunity to link indoor and outdoor activities.

“We want to build on the vision for a regenerated focal point to the town being fostered by the town council, local businesses and the Market Place feasibility study commissioned by Amber Valley. We envisage a winning combination of refreshments, displays and activities.”

The official opening of the new enterprise will be on Saturday, April 13.

There will be a café - as planned for every Farmers’ Market day - an exhibition by two outstanding local artists, Margaret Rose and Sam Matthews, and an official cutting of the ribbon by World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Adrian Farmer at 11am.

The charging structure means that voluntary organisations benefit from a ‘community’ rate and small local businesses, local residents and local authorities from a ‘concessionary’ rate.

In a big boost for the new enterprise, Belper Arts Festival has booked No28, as it is called, for the whole of May. The refurbished hall will act as the festival’s information point and box office as well as hosting a full programme including exhibitions, performances and workshops, starting with the Youth Market on May 4.

Other activities are planned through the year, including an exhibition on the Market Place past and present on September 14 and 15, during the Heritage Open Days event and an exhibition of working fairground models during th autumn fair event.

It is hoped to revive the hall’s long-standing community connection. The old Angel Inn was demolished in the 1920s to make way for the building of the Salvation Army Hall in the 1930s, which closed in 2011.

No28 would like people to contact them for bookings and ideas for the use of the hall - in particular, for popular town events, such as the July and Christmas food festivals via email at twentyeightbelper@btinternet.com or by phoning 01773 825693.