Drop Inn centre saved after grant

A BELPER youth charity has been saved from closure caused by a funding crisis after a £4,000 emergency grant from the town council.

Andrea Fox, founder of the Drop Inn on Derwent Street made a desperate appeal to Belper councillors at their latest meeting.

She said: “This is a plea to bail us out in this quarter - we are in a mess. If we don’t get through this gap we won’t have any premises. I feel I am begging for my life.”

She said the death of the centre’s treasurer last year left the venue in a mess. “By the time we had it audited it was too late to apply for funds.”

She said the organisation, which works with “very hard to reach youth” has been running for 12 years and was recognised nationally; 5,000 young people had taken part in courses and more than 500 had gained qualifications.

Cllr Jim Anderson: “In my view this is the most important outfit that works on residents’ behalf. I think we should cut the budget to Fleet Arts and give £4,000 to the Drop Inn. It does the best amount of work of any group we’re throwing money at.”

Cllr Peter Shepherd said: “It’s like a beacon of success. It’s important, it’s sincere, it’s our children.”

Cllr Simon Black said: “I think this is a shining light in terms of social investment.”

County councillor Peter Makin said he would try to find £1,000 from his own community fund to help. Councillors voted to approve the grant. The charity was also advised to shop around for a different energy supplier. Ms Fox said: “Now a new treasurer is in place with new systems and someone is working on funding strategies. We have a lot of very positive future projects.”