The workshop is the fulfilment of an idea of the Vocational Service Committee of the Rotary Club of Matlock whose chairman John Jillings was also Director of Derbyshire County Council Social Services. Although other areas had sheltered workshops, there was nothing similar in the Matlock/Darley Dale area, despite an obvious need.
Derbyshire Social Services undertook to provide the building needed in Matlock. At a public meeting it was decided to form a committee made up of representatives from the organisations in the town – Rotary, Inner Wheel, Round Table, Ladies Circle, Rotoract, Lions Club, Mencap Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Social Club for the Disabled, a representative from the County Council and also from Social Services The aim of the workshop was to provide therapeutic occupation for up to 20 people with a disability, living in the West Derbyshire area for people with physical or mental disability who are unable to return to full employment. It now has 2 paid staff and 16 Workshop Members repairing cane and rush chairs, as well as printing
Derbyshire County Council has supported the workshop from the start but due to Council Tax capping our grant was cut by 50% at one point – raising fears we would have to close. Local organisations particularly Matlock and Bakewell Rotary Clubs – donated money that kept us going. Thankfully our grant has since been reinstated and we now receive an annual amount from DCC although there has been no increase in this for the last five years.
Each Workshop Member has to make their own way to and from the Workshop and receive a travel allowance for their expenses. We have an incredible group of people who attend the Workshop and the atmosphere is extremely pleasant and positive. Their attitude and concern for each other is an example to many other groups.