‘Local partnerships save community space’ as city prepares for DIY SOS project

People are being urged to get involved in a large scale charity project that will see a church hall in one of Derby’s neighbourhoods transformed into a vibrant community hub.
The Allenton Big Build will see £300,000 worth of work carried out at St Martin’s Church and Community Centre in a DIY SOS style project which is being led by Derby Homes, and Ilkeston brickie Ian Hodgkinson of Hodgkinson Builders.
The project is the perfect anniversary present for The Enthusiasm Trust – a charity which has had a positive impact on the lives of young people in Allenton over the years, and has been based at the hall for 25 years this year.
The project has been in the pipeline for some time and those involved with the church, built in 1910, have been fundraising for a number of years. Now, thanks to Ian Hodgkinson –  with support from Derby Homes, Derby City Council and contractors – it is set to finally become a reality.
The project organisers are inviting people who are willing to offer their help to transform the church to a launch day at the church on 19 June between 10am and 2pm.
This will be a chance for tradespeople to meet up with the team behind the project, and offer their services, with the work due to be carried out in September.
Ian Hodgkinson led a similar project last year to create a community space at Derbyshire County Cricket Club when 150 tradespeople offered their help over the two day challenge.
He said:
“When I heard about the St Martin’s project I immediately wanted to get involved. It’s a great cause and is close to our Derby office. It is also something that our apprentices can get stuck in to and we are happy to help make a difference to people’s lives.”
“We are looking for materials, plant hire and skips and anyone who can help, from laying carpets, to making cups of tea.”
St Martin’s has been used as a community hall for a number of years, but it is now dated and no longer fit for purpose. The work will see it transformed with a modern extension to accommodate an affordable community café with a training kitchen and local exhibitions, new community rooms, a community garden, sensory garden and outdoor play.
There will also be a spruced up main hall for hosting large community events as well as new toilets and disabled facilities.
Maria Murphy, Managing Director at Derby Homes, said:
“Being one of only a small number of community spaces in the area, it is essential to secure it for future generations.
“The project signals a new era for Allenton. St Martin’s is central to the success and sustainability of a number of other new community led projects aimed at improving the quality of life for residents, many of whom are our tenants”
“It has been years in the making but they are now ready to start work. Big Local Trust has given some funds for the project but our Community Development links with Ian that have meant we have been able to get this off the ground. We wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”