A youth centre in Belper is celebrating after winning thousands of pounds to support its work with disadvantaged young people.
The Drop Inn, on Derwent Street, has been handed £5,000 by Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to pay for new equipment for its music room allowing more teenagers to use the facility.
They beat off stiff competition from other community groups to land the prize, after polling more than 30 per cent in a public vote organised by Lloyds.
Andrea Fox founded the Drop Inn 12 years ago and said it was humbling that people had thrown their backing behind the charity, with targets less academic and underachieving youngsters.
“Without this money our plans for the music room wouldn’t be possible – our priority is the running costs of keeping the place open,” she said.
“There are no words to describe winning this. To be recognised by people who value us, and then all the people who supported us, is humbling. To have that support to that extent is flattering and amazing.”
The youth charity has helped more than 400 young people through short courses to boost their CV, with multi-media sessions held in their Jamjar music room.
“We do have the Jamjar for sessions but there is no heating, or lights or shelving, it’s just a shell that used to be an office and that’s what we want to kit out,”said Andrea w ho works full time at the centre despite currently being unpaid as the charity searches for funding.
“It’s my whole life, I do it full time and the rewards are when we get young people find the college place they want or the job they want and you see them grow in confidence.
“It’s had a massive impact, not just on the young people but on the wider community. Now old people cross the road to speak to them, not to avoid them.”
More than 200,000 people across the UK took part in a public vote between May and September to select the charities they wanted to receive the cash, part of £660,000 Lloyds Banking Group is investing through the Community Fund.
In total, 132 projects received £5,000 as part of the Lloyds campaign and Karen Jones, the community ambassador for Derby, said: “It gives them extra cash to support and boost what they are trying to achieve in a way that’s a benefit to proper people.”
To find out more about the fund, visit www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/community