Consistent with good practice for Charities, we have defined the outcomes we wish to achieve by reference to the local community. Considering the Darley Dale Socio-economic background:
We are getting older:
- Average age of residents is 47 v 39 across England
- Over 1 in 4 are above 65 and this is increasing at a rapid rate
There is growing vulnerability for some but places like the Whitworth bring people together and build independence
- 1 in 3 households are single people
- 1 in 4 are receiving some kind of homecare/support
- Over half of those aged 65+ are living with a limiting long-term health problem
- While we are as a whole a bit better off and a bit better educated than the norm, 1 in 3 households have some form of deprivation
Darley Dale is generally a safe place
- Low levels of crime but ASB is by far the most heavily reported crime
We live in an important Gateway to Peak District Attractions, with many visitors passing through and using local facilities.
We are close to other key Heritage Assets such as Peak Rail, Cromford Mills and Chatsworth House.
Aims and Objectives of the Whitworth Centre
We have clearly defined aims to support the residents of Darley Dale to:
- Help enhance physical, social and mental well being
- Help reduce social isolation and loneliness in our community
- Help create stronger, rewarding relationships in families and local groups
- Help people make greener choices and improve the environment
We do this through the provision of a range of services that bring people together in a welcoming and safe environment, sharing the wonderful setting and heritage that comes with the Whitworth Centre
- Over 40 Clubs and Charities regularly use our facilities
- xx delegates attended xx conferences in 2018. This excludes walk in days such as NHS careers days and DCC exhibition days
- 250 people regularly attend health and fitness classes or clubs
- 230 people attend regular community/social events every week covering the generations from Wayfinders (primary school) to Dementia sufferers at Memory Lane events. 2018 included a special event to remember 100 years since the end of the First World War, where sadly many local people lost their lives.
- 120 people regularly attend educational classes at the centre including WEA, U3A and private groups covering history, languages and pre-natal courses
- Growing number of events, from weddings to pantomimes to children’s parties
- Active Billiards club of over 60 Members
- We don’t know the numbers of users in the café but the overall sales level grew by a quarter last year and the income generated is a vital part of sustaining the building and parklands
- Partnership with Rapid Horizons provides largely water based activities for people of all ages
In the Park:
- Used by hundreds if not thousands of people of all ages
- Regular organised activities include Mums Bootcamp, 3 different Yoga Classes, Running Revolution, Matlock Cycle club, Football (including a toddlers session), Croquet Club, Bowls Club, Thread (100-150 people per month), School activity, Dark/White Cycle events, Dog agility classes, Charity fund raisers and the very well supported Fireworks night that had over 1500 visitors
Focus of our work
Our work is focused in the following areas:
- Financial sustainability
Financial sustainability is being improved largely through growth in activities at the Centre. To this end, we have invested in an events kitchen in 2018, to enable larger conferences and events to be fully serviced on site. Management has significantly improved our services to local people, resulting in more than a 25% increase in the value of services delivered. Through this time, we have maintained discounted rates for community and charity groups, saving local people significant amounts of money. Management has also sought to ensure that the services that we buy are bought more efficiently and that tighter controls exist to make sure spend is well managed.
- Ensuring we deliver services in line with our aims and our values
Whether it is enabling people to simply stroll around the park and enjoy the wonderful surroundings, or to come together as friends and families, in larger events, such as our annual Fireworks event, the Whitworth really is there for all generations and its inclusivity is one of its major strengths. The Management Committee oversee all events and ensure that they will support our core aim, being to improve the Well Being of local people
- Ensuring good governance and safety practices
The Management Committee has been strengthened in the year, including bringing in new Trustees with Health and safety expertise and Operational expertise within other Heritage Assets. We, including with the volunteered support of the Mears Group, have reviewed and updated all our health and safety practices bringing in some new training for staff. While we must remain vigilant, we are confident that we are better placed than ever.