Community Action Derby relocate to new city centre home
Published: 23 February 2022
A charity which has been at the forefront of co-ordinating the volunteer effort during the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded its operation with a move to the iconic Shot Tower building in the heart of Derby city centre.
Community Action Derby, which supports voluntary and community groups across the city, has moved from its existing home on Charnwood Street to the Shot Tower on Albert Street, which has been part of the successful Connect Derby managed workspace scheme since 2015.
As the Volunteer Centre for Derby city, the organisation also offers a brokerage service for potential volunteers and organisations and supports all those organisations that engage with volunteers.
During the first lockdown in March 2020, the team at Community Action Derby joined forces with Derby City Council and other statutory organisations, local community organisations and volunteers, to create the Derby COVID Community Response Hub in order to help the most vulnerable people in the city.
Community Action’s Charnwood Street office became the ‘de facto’ headquarters for the COVID Community Response Hub, co-ordinating the support effort, matching up potential volunteers with people in need and co-ordinating food donations for the city’s food banks.
The charity had been planning to move across the road to one of its vacant buildings, but the increase in demand for its services, and social distancing requirements, meant that was no longer feasible.
Shot Tower joined the Connect Derby portfolio of managed workspaces in 2015, following a complete £1m refurbishment to transform it into a virtual business hub to encourage people from disadvantaged communities to set up their own business and support not-for-profit groups, start-ups, graduates, and other people considering self-employment.
In 2018, the building was taken on by one expanding business, but was vacated due to the pandemic.
With the Derby City Council owned building vacant, it made sense to bring Community Action’s services to a more central location, which provides additional space, increase visibility, and raises the profile of the organisation.
Commenting on the move, Kim Harper, CEO of Community Action Derby said
Moving to the Shot Tower will bring a variety of opportunities for Community Action and our Hub partners.
The building will provide a welcoming open space that will allow us to provide all of our services from a central and accessible environment. The Volunteer Centre and café will be available for anyone to drop in and relax and we are very much looking forward to moving in and continuing our work.
Cllr Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Place and Community Development at Derby City Council, said
Our communities and the voluntary sector have been at the forefront of Derby’s COVID emergency response, and I strongly believe that building even stronger relationships and partnerships within our city and our communities is crucial to our successful recovery and future resilience.
The Emergency Community Response HUB was created in March 2020 to support the infrastructure of our city’s VCSE sector and community response, bringing together staff and partners, and crucially Community Action Derby, into one vibrant team.
I’m delighted that this arrangement is to continue, and in fact strengthen, as the new Community HUB moves into the Shot Tower in the city centre. This move reflects their success, safeguards this new way of working, and provides the perfect platform to continue to build stronger and safer communities.
I am extremely thankful to Community Action Derby and all our VCSE and partners for the continued efforts; it’s clear that we are truly ‘better together,’ and long may this continue.
Ann Bhatti, Head of Connect Derby, said
Shot Tower is a fantastic building in a great location, and it is great to see Derby City Council property services and Connect Derby working together to provide them with the space they need be able to carry out their services at time where help is needed by many.
We are pleased to see Shot Tower continuing to be used for the purposes it was originally intended and we look forward to supporting the Community Action Derby team as they continue to grow and support the people of Derby.