Information given to those attending the Rally for Wirksworth Leisure Centre



Wirksworth Leisure Centre and Wirksworth Sports Group

Derbyshire Dales District Council plan to seek competitive tenders to take over the running of their Leisure Centres, including Wirksworth from mid 2018.

Wirksworth Sports Group is made of volunteer sports enthusiasts. Its purpose is to make sure Wirksworth gets a good deal

It wants to make sure that:

Derbyshire Dales continue to maintain and repair the Centre properly until any handover.

That Derbyshire Dales order a full independent condition survey of the Sports Centre before inviting organisations to take it on, so that everyone knows what maintenance and improvement work might be needed in coming years.

Anthony Gell School’s existing rights – to daytime use of the Sports Hall – are fully protected under any new arrangements through appropriate joint agreements.

The climbing wall is fully protected in future – including staffing to create new routes regularly. All members of staff working at the Centre are properly protected.

Opportunities to share staffing and training with the Learner Pool are encouraged.

Pricing policies and concessionary schemes are protected in the future.

Arrangements for booking pitches and collecting fees remain unchanged in the new arrangements.

New management is committed to renewing equipment regularly and to pursuing opportunities to expand the facilities if possible.

New management is committed to a partnership with the School, the Gell Foundation, Pool and Health Centre, and regular consultation with local residents and users of the centre.New management is committed to treating all four Sports Centres in the Dales equally.


Roy Pearce – email address


Rally for Wirksworth Leisure Centre

Rally for the Centre organised by the Wirksworth & District Sports Group with one hundred present and fifteen apologies in the Town Hall on Thursday 27th April 2017, was chaired by John Thompson, who reported progress in response to the decision of the district council to outsource the Wirksworth Leisure Centre from 2018 on financial grounds.  Soon sports group members would meet the consultant who is advising the council on specifications for a contract to run the four Dales centres (also Matlock, Bakewell and Ashbourne). This should, the council tells us, ‘provide greater scope for access to capital finance to provide investment into facilities and services’. It is vital that building, equipment and facilities are handed over in good condition. The Sports Group support the council’s intentions and will work for the best possible outcome for the town; we want the integrated vision  – school, provider and community working together – to be sustained and the whole operation to be improved.


Malcolm Kelly (HoAGS) said the strong school involvement would continue; a legal agreement was near with the Foundation Trustees, who own the land  as landlords. Joint use community facilities were a great strength for the school and were an attraction to many parents pondering their choice of school.


Rod Leach had interrogated aspects of the finances, a perplexing task: he judged Wirksworth had not been generously treated in the past: an independent condition survey was vital; £101,000 of structural work had been identified by as needed, but not actioned by the council; we needed a new main hall floor. The group will urge equality of treatment in budgets.   How would the council achieve its desired savings in future years?


Dr Penny Blackwell made a passionate case for close involvement of the Hannage Brook Medical Centre (8,800 patients) in the activities of the leisure centre hub; patients, were recommended, some on prescription, to activities in gym and swimming pool. She saw great value in young people being introduced to a variety of physical activities for their health, social and mental wellbeing.  The chair thanked Dr Blackwell for the powerful account of medical needs and Leisure Centre liaison she had written for the Wirksworth submission.


Dave Baker (chair of pool trustees) said numbers at the pool had increased significantly through outstanding efforts by volunteer trustees and supporters, but the handover from the council had left them with heavy expenses on structural items, which should have been in better order. He wanted a closer relationship with the new managers.


Sue Marshall spoke as parent governor of the needs of the school and as a cricketer about the 120 adult and youth players who used the centre in the winter; new cricket nets needed.


Points raised from the floor included: legal status of the agreement; the special value of the climbing wall as a regional facility with appropriate staffing and skilled re-routing of  the facility needed  – Bob Davies is on the case; the strong view of the meeting that any operator be a ‘not for profit/dividend provider’ – a group had visited Alfreton and saw well organised leisure services outsourced by Amber Valley to a trust; the problems of pursuing the Community Asset Trust route, which the sports group had rejected – Wirksworth would have stood alone with little money and many complexities;  the needs of young people; suggestion that the group use social media more – Tim Richards offered to help.  The long report to the council from the sports group is on the Destination Wirksworth web site, a long and valuable read.


A show of hands revealed that only a disappointing ten per cent of those attending had filled in a consultation form; it was considered too limiting for constructive suggestions on future developments.


Councillor Irene Ratcliffe thanked the chair and sports group colleagues for their excellent work and pledged the support of local councillors, County, District and Town in working towards a solution that met the needs of our community.


On 18th May there will be a councillors ‘workshop’ followed by committee (15th June) and full council meeting (22nd June), when a final decision will be made on the specification and tender arrangements. The plan is for transfer sometime in 2018.  A briefing sheet was available to those attending and a copy is attached in the next notice…


email here…

Wirksworth Book Festival – Thank you for all the support!!

Heather, Val, Carol, Naomi, Ken, Bill and Jenny would like to thank everyone in Wirksworth and beyond who supported the 2nd Wirksworth  Book Festival. Thanks to speakers, venues, volunteers and friends, and to our audiences – we had around 470 audience members at 15 events. Now looking for next year’s local writers and venues to form the core of what we are about – free events, showcasing local writers.

Wirksworth Book Festival Line-Up announced.

The line up for the Wirksworth Book Festival has been announced – summary here:

Belinda Bradley, Sally Barkley-Smith, Carol Fieldhouse
Festival Launch
Waltham House, St. Johns Street, Wirksworth, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 4DT
Thursday 30/03/17
19:00 – 20:30

Fabulous Fairytales
Wirksworth Library, Town Hall Wirksworth Matlock Derbyshire DE4 4EU
Friday 31/03/17
14:15 – 14:45

Stephen Booth
Where the Bodies are Buried
Red Lion, function room, Market Pl, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4ET
Friday 31/03/17
19:30 – 20:30

Mary Wiltshire
A History of Wirksworth
The Bookshop, Market Pl, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4ET
Friday 31/03/17
18:30 – 19:30

Northern Light Cinema, 13A North End, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4FG
Saturday 01/04/17
£3 children, accompanying adults free. Tickets must be bought in advance.

Bill Bevan
A Prehistoric Journey across Gardom’s Edge, Baslow
Freedom Flowers, upstairs, 17 St John’s St, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4DR
Saturday 01/04/17
12:15 – 13:15

Jan Jefferson
Quilts and the Amish
Wellspring Church, upstairs, Wood St, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4DS
Saturday 01/04/17
13:30 – 14:30

Daniel Blythe
Dr Who, Ghosts and Vampires
Wirksworth Fish Bar, 19 Market Pl, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4ET
Saturday 01/04/17
14:30 – 15:30

John Hegley
Poisson d’Avril (April Fool’s Day)
Memorial Hall, 39 St Johns Street,Wirksworth, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 4DS
Saturday 01/04/17
£6.00 children, £8.00 adults


Sophie Snell
How To Write a Book
Feather Star, upstairs, 15 St John’s St, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4DR
Saturday 01/04/17


Stephen Chalke
Summer’s Crown: the story of cricket’s County Championship
Wirksworth & Middleton Cricket Club Pavilion. The Recreation Ground. Derby Road, Wirksworth. Derbyshire. DE4 4AS
Saturday 01/04/17
£5.00, under 16s free


John Hegley
Wirksworth Town Hall, Coldwell St, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4EU
Saturday 01/04/17
£6.00 children, £9.00 concessions, £12.00 full
Heather Lounds
Walk and Talk
Market Place, Wirksworth, DE4 4EG
Sunday 02/04/17
9:00 – 11:00am

Level of walk is easy, dogs welcome. Start under the tree, Market Place. End at The Bookshop.

Duncan Simpson
Open to All: how youth hostels changed the world
Mercia, upstairs, 5 Market Pl, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4ET
Sunday 02/04/17



Andy Miller
The Ragged Weave of Yesterday
Northern Light Cinema, Northern Light Cinema, 13A North End, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4FG
Sunday 02/04/17
17:00 – 18:00


Liz Wellby
An Artist Amongst the Books
Scarthin Books, The Promenade, Cromford, Matlock DE4 3QF
Sunday 02/04/17

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Wirksworth Station,
Station Road, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, DE4 4FB

New railway guide launched and available from Wirksworth Station during the festival.

The Big Book Quiz
Black’s Head, 6 West End, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4EG and Royal Oak, 14 North End, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4
Sunday 02/04/17
£1 per person

The end of festival book quiz held in two pubs simultaneously! Max 10 teams per pub, 4 members per team. Compete to be the winning team in your pub, each pub competes to be the Book Pub of Wirksworth 2017! Contact Val Stacey to register your team on 07973 600701 or