By Simon Mallett
North Mill Trust
The picture below was taken at a Volunteers and Trustees meeting at Strutt’s North Mill in September which I was keen to attend in order to pass on my thanks, on behalf of the Town Council, for the fantastic work that they do in maintaining and promoting this historic jewel in the story of our town. Despite the difficulties they have encountered, primarily the decision by the previous Borough Council to withdraw funding, they continue to deliver one of the best tourist and educational attractions in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. One look at the Visitors Book illustrates just what an iconic international attraction this is.
Earlier this summer they had played host to our guests from the City of Pawtucket and Blackstone Valley to mark the 25th anniversary of our twinning agreement, who all agreed that it was one of the highlights of their trip. The team are always looking for new volunteers to help with all aspects of the service they provide. So, if you are interested in contributing, whether your experience and skill set is based in history, business, hospitality or languages, the mill manager would be pleased to hear from you – contact Kat Tonks on 01773 880474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday 20th September I was invited by the organisers of the Climate Strike, held at the Memorial Gardens, to open this event. And what a pleasure it was! The Gardens had been booked and some facilities made available, but who, and how many young people would attend was unknown. However, 30 minutes beforehand, groups of primary and secondary students from Wirksworth, Duffield and Belper schools started to arrive, signalling that this event was going to be a great success. It was good to see that our town had enabled young people in the area to have their say rather than travel to Derby or Matlock where other protests had been organised. Listening to the speeches from people aged from 8 to 18, I was very aware that the political understanding, passion and commitment they displayed, made a mockery of the argument that voting age should not be reduced to 16. In addition, their knowledge of the environmental disaster we face and rightful anger at the state in which they find our planet, made for sobering listening.
Belper & District Organ & Keyboard Club
For over 30 years Belper & District Organ & Keyboard Club has been providing musicians in the town with the opportunity to meet, perform and be entertained by national and international artists. We were pleased to be invited to one of their performance nights and thoroughly enjoyed an amazing concert given by Dirk Jan Ranzjin from Alkmar in Holland. A full and friendly audience at the Congregational Church made for an excellent evening. If you are interested in attending one of the fortnightly club nights or monthly performance nights, details can be found at www.belperorganclub.com.
Belper Street Angels have been working in the town on a Friday and Saturday night for 7 years. They provide an invaluable service right through to the early hours, helping, supporting and listening to people who need it. We were pleased to be invited to attend their AGM, held at St Peters Church and present their commissioning certificates to existing and new vounteers. Street Angels are just one of a number of voluntary projects which are run by the ‘Hope for Belper’ group. If you are interested in finding out more check out their website at https://hopeforbelper.com