Centre’s rave idea to go county-wide

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A CONCEPT that started as a random idea at a popular youth centre in Belper three years ago is to go county-wide thanks to a grant of £25,000.

Tom Stone, who is a volunteer at the Drop Inn, came up with the idea of ‘Safe Raves’ for youngsters in the town.

They were such a hit that soon they were attracting interest from other communities, especially given the amount of youngsters that attended and the corresponding reduction in reports of nuisance involving youths on Friday nights when the raves took place. The ‘Safe Raves’ have also won the Drop Inn several awards.

Now, Derbyshire Community Safety Partnership has asked the team from the Drop Inn in Derwent Street if it could help deliver ‘Safe Raves’ across Derbyshire.

To help, the partnership has provided the funding, which will go entirely on training, equipment, transport and advice in four other communities.

Andrea Fox, manager of the Drop Inn, said: “We were eager to help and devised a package of training, activities and co-operative working with other community groups and agencies that would not only result in ‘Safe Raves’ being delivered elsewhere, but build a capability in those communities to continue to develop the ideas themselves.

“Part of the basic capability to offer such services was the establishment of a community enterprise company called NODE56. This ‘Safe Raves’ programme is the first to go through NODE56.

“Whilst the Drop Inn will not profit directly from the project, it is the first step towards becoming self sustaining. Despite the success of the Drop Inn, it is struggling financially. We are volunteer rich, and we can always attract funding, but the core running costs of £16,000 a year - for rent, insurance and utilities - are extremely hard to find.

“Our dream is to have secure funding to cover running costs,which would mean all other income could go directly into projects, expanding our services, widening our catchment area, and getting more equipment.”