The charity behind a new centre aimed at providing exciting activities for disabled young adults aged 18 to 30 has taken a massive step forward after signing a 40-year lease of the Rykneld Community Centre building in Derby.
Umbrella has also launched an appeal to raise £100,000 to pay for the building in Bedford Close to be extensively refurbished and also to make it fully accessible, including the kitchen and toilet block.
The renovation of the centre will create more jobs within the charity and the venue will also be available for use by the local community.
When it is complete, the trust – which was started in 1986 and provides services for disabled children, young people and their parents and carers in Derby and the southern half of Derbyshire – will rename the building after former trustee Annie Hall.
It will be called The Annie Hall Centre but known affectionately as Annie’s Place.
Mrs Hall, who was also a former High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 2018-19, tragically lost her life in the floods which hit Derbyshire last November.
Ann Rowlands, Umbrella chief executive, said: “Annie was also a much loved friend and trustee of Umbrella for eight years – the centre will be named in her memory to honour her incredible devotion to Umbrella.
“The demand for our services continues to grow and we are running out of space in our existing building. We have taken on the lease to help young disabled adults gain skills to be more independent.
“This is an incredible opportunity to develop Umbrella services to make a real difference to the lives of disabled young adults. We aim to raise £100,000 to pay for the work on the building.
“We are looking for donations of money or materials. Any support for Annie’s Place would be very much appreciated.
“The centre will create a lasting legacy for Annie’s wonderful dedication to disabled children and young adults.”
The lease was negotiated withe help of charity Enthusiasm and Derby City Council.
Mrs Hall’s husband, Michael, who was with her when she was swept away in flood water on November 8, said: “I know how much Annie cared about the provision for disabled children and young adults, if for no other reason, because of her own first-hand experience.
“She was excited with the plans for the new building and my only sadness is that she will not be here to see it become a reality. But to name the facility after her is a great tribute to her commitment to develop the provision, which she felt was essential to improve the quality of their future lives.”
Local construction company Industrial Contracting Services Limited (ICS) is project managing all the renovation work.
Company chief executive Paul Fereday said: “‘Annie’s Place is a really worthwhile project. Some of our work will be free and we are working with our suppliers to get the best value on materials.”
The building requires new lighting, windows, doors, re-plumbing throughout, alteration and improvements to the heating and complete internal refurbishment and decoration.
Once refurbished the building will have: a kitchen so that young people can practice preparation of meals and other essential household tasks; space for small group activities; fully accessible toilets and changing spaces; a quiet room for one-to-one activities or family meetings; a sensory room; a large hall for larger groups and indoor exercise and sporting activities to encourage a healthy lifestyle and space to develop a social enterprise.