Youth centre to re-open after big refurbishment

sp94567'Belper Drop In diy make over. Andrea Fox (manager) with Bradley Ives
sp94567'Belper Drop In diy make over. Andrea Fox (manager) with Bradley Ives

A POPULAR youth centre in Belper is set for a grand re-opening after undergoing a major refurbishment.

The Drop Inn will throw open its doors once again on Monday, January 23.

It has been closed since December 12 for the centre’s team and a few young people to go in and give it an overhaul.

Andrea Fox, manager of the centre, which is based on Derwent Street, said: “It looks fantastic. So much hard work has gone into it.

“I cannot wait to see people’s faces when they walk in.”

The refurbishment idea was born thanks to Adrian Stone, a volunteer at the centre.

Andrea said: “Adrian came up with the idea to refurbish the bar and it all went from there. We decided to close and get every room done.”

And Andrea could not be happier with how it’s gone.

“I keep having to stand back and look at it,” she said. “Twelve years ago I would never have imagined this in my wildest dreams.

“I am so proud of the team. They and a few young people have worked tirelessly to completely revamp the centre.”

It is the first time in its 12 years that the centre has been closed.

The materials for the job have cost £1,000

Andrea said: “People have been hanging about outside asking how much longer they have to wait before it is open again.

“We have had to lock the gates because we don’t want people to see it until the opening day. Everyone is excited by it and also quite intrigued.

“There is a massive difference. Many of the new features have been possible through recycling and re-using old equipment and materials. One of the new features is the Di:Bar, which is Amber Valley’s first completely under-18s bar, possibly even Derbyshire’s.”

The Di:Bar will serve milkshakes, smoothies, pop, and tea and coffee.

Andrea continued: “The bar is the biggest change. It was literally just a work top before.

“Two of the volunteers, Ant Baker and Tom Stone, who are not joiners, have built it themselves.”

The revamp includes new lighting, new computers, the repainting of the games room, new toilets, and a new sign, among many other things. There will also be a timeline charting the Drop Inn’s 12 years.

To celebrate the re-opening, youngsters and the team from the Drop Inn are hosting an open afternoon this Monday, January 23, between 1pm and 5.30pm at the centre. Cllr Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Young People, is attending. Parents are more than welcome.