Small steps for scheme that has big plans for Belper

Possible location for a community-run convenience store in Belper.
Possible location for a community-run convenience store in Belper.

The Belper Community Development Co-op (BCDC) is preparing for its maiden meeting - as it aims to create a ‘sustainable Belper’ for the future.

The group was formed as a new branch of Transition Belper at the annual Belper Goes Green by Andrew Huskinson.

Andrew Huskinson

Andrew Huskinson

Andrew, Transition Belper Team Leader for the BCDC, says that the upcoming meeting will provide locals with the chance to brainstorm ideas regarding sustainability.

The first informal meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 28 at 7.30pm in the meeting room in Fresh Ground, on King Street.

Andrew told the Belper News: “The BCDC was launched at Belper Goes Green, so we are in very early days for a big project.

“This is for Belper people interested in taking action to set up sustainable businesses in Belper for the economic security of future generations.

“But obviously, like anything, people need to get on board to begin with.

“There will be small volunteer projects to set up and join, run by Transaction Belper, to kick-start progress in a given area.

“The first one is a half allotment-size garden plot donated to be a volunteer-run community garden.

“We need several more volunteers to run this.

“It’s like a discussion and the meeting will prove to be an open forum for people.

“The initial aim is to produce a vegetable box for a single parent family and we will be seeking two Belper families to sponsor this at £10 a month for the BCDC sustainable business start-up fund.”

Andrew says that there is also scope to open a community-run cafe which he hopes will improve the community aspect within the town.

He said: “I will be leading a discussion on a four-acre staffed community garden proposal, possibly with an on-site cafe.

“There is also a proposal to set up a community-owned general store.

“We can use a convenience store as a start-up funding method and stock some sustainable and local goods.

“We could have a demonstration kitchen to show off healthy vegetarian cooking.

“A suitable old building could have the upper floor used as a sustainable hub with a club room.”

Potential locations have already been earmarked and are set to be discussed at the meeting.

Andrew, who was brought up in Belper, said incorporating the town’s younger generation as part of the project is also a crucial part of any future developments.

He added: “It’s important that children learn about gardens and getting them involved makes it more sociable.

“Not only that, but also they will feel the benefits in terms of fitness and good health.

“The benefits will all be positive.”

Those interested in attending the meeting, or who have ideas for potential projects, can email Andrew at sustainablevisionforbelper@outlook.com.