The Derbyshire ECO Centre

A couple of months back you may remember a blog about clothes swaps, the new big thing in making recycling fun! If you are living locally to Wirksworth you’ll be happy to know the local eco centre regularly hold clothes swap parties, The last one was in November and attracted lots of newcomers. So as the AIRR blog is  about all things good for the planet and people in it, we feel an introduction to the eco centre is a must, so here it is…


I’ve been speaking  to Nikki Wright who has been the programme development officer for the ECO centre since it opened in 2010.

‘What I do ( along with 2 other colleagues, all part time) is organise the programme of courses and workshops at the centre. I focus on the sustainable building and heritage skills courses we run at the centre- things such as dry stone walling, building with straw bales, hempcrete and timber and our horticulture, gardening and practical countryside skills courses. My other collegues are responsible for organising the arts and crafts courses, wellbeing workshops, family learning events and our program of targeted activities for people with e.g mental health problems, dementia and learning disabilities.’

The ECO centre, is owned, and designed (as the first of its kind!) by Derbyshire County Council.

The ethos of the place is simple, It is the county hub for sustainability learning with a drive to combat climate change offering courses, for all ages and abilities to learn the skills to live more sustainably and to lead lower carbon lifesyles.

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The building itself was constructed using sustainable methods, materials and technologies.  Including local stone, a living green roof, rainwater harvesting, air source heat pump and solar panels! The construction of the building hepls promote the ECO centre’s ethos to show the importance of sustainability, and what can be achieved  to the visitors. What a quick fire way to get people excited!

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The ECO Centre is also being used by local community groups as a place to hold meetings and events. There has even been a few private parties, outdoor cinema screenings and a wedding!

‘Come and have a look round if you’ve never been, we are always happy to show it to people, We would like to see many more local people using our excellent facilities, both indoor and out, especially if the event has a local community or ‘eco’ focus- such as the recent clothes swap events. Our room hire is very cheap and we have large grounds so do get in touch to find out more!’

The people involved in the centre are obviously very proud of the centre, and so they should be! How many other small rural towns have such a great resoursce available locally to them? To find out more click here for contact details and course listings. Or follow them on Facebook to keep up to date with whats happening. Click here for directions is you facy a stroll up there, or a visit by car, there are also instructions on how to get there by public transport.

Derbyshire Eco Centre

This spring theres courses such as assertiveness and confidence building, introductions to bee keeping and stained glass courses for beginners. There are family courses in mosaic making and family photobook making, and outdoor practucal courses such as DIY plumbing and introductions to permaculture. All you need to do is book over the phone, or book online:

Derbyshire Eco Centre Contact Details
Tel: 01629 533038


To learn a bit more heres a video for the Derbyshire ECO Centre made by Gavin Repton.


‘And as for our priorities for 2017 and beyond? As well as wanting lots of people to come to our courses….we really would like to see more local community involvement in the centre.’


Thank you for your help Nikki! Heres to a productive 2017 for the Eco Centre!

All photos taken from the ECO Centres Facebook Page – a great way to get info about the latest courses. Make sure you follow them if you can!






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