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COLUMN: ‘Growing pains’ as larger events staged at Strutts

By Nick McLeod

Chairman of Strutts Community Centre

Recently we have had a number of larger events at Strutts, including the Belper Players performances in the hall and last weekend with our Xmas Craft Fair. 
These events highlight our “growing pains” as we learn how to run such events and at the same time try to keep our regular users happy. 
On some days this autumn we have actually been “full”, with all our 20 rooms in use, which we have never achieved before. 
It is a fine balancing act with limited resource trying to restore the building while at the same time meeting the increasing needs of our users, and we make no apologies for the peeling paint inside. 
The priority for us is to make the place weatherproof and provide a safe and secure venue. 
Unfortunately restoration has to be a lower priority until such time that we can obtain grants. 
The car traffic is now so heavy that the Tarmac at the entrance to our car park is breaking up, so please take extra care on site until we can afford to make permanent repairs. 
All our operating costs have gone up with the increased usage, but fortunately so has our income. 
We are reinvesting the surplus into more repairs and new facilities, such as the kitchen off the hall. 
The greatest benefit of more bookings is that it is more efficient to heat the building for 20 groups rather than just a few, so the place is warmer.This increased usage of Strutts is a testament to the vibrancy of the community of Belper and also raises the question of what the town would be like now without Strutts. 
We all value our social activities and a community without homes for them is a poor place indeed. 
The financial pressures on local government makes it increasingly difficult for them to provide the necessary resources, and Strutts Community Project shows that communities can take the initiative and find a way of providing for themselves. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone involved with Strutts, especially our loyal volunteers and users, a happy Xmas and look forward to a successful New Year and the challenge of taking Strutts on to the next level.
So if you can help in any way please join the Belper Strutts Society and phone Strutts Reception on 01773 599993 or email me, Nick McLeod at reception@strutts.org.uk

 

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