The Derbyshire Eco Centre is the county hub for courses and activities focusing on education for sustainable development. It supports Derbyshire County Council’s work to address climate change issues. It promotes creativity through the arts, and teaches skills to help conserve the natural world and to live healthy lifestyles.
The Centre’s workshop and site are ideally suited for teaching sustainable building skills, including dry stone walling, to support the rural economy and conserve its heritage. Most of the learners at the Centre are adults.
There are also learning opportunities for young people (especially those approaching adulthood) and young people who come to learn with their parents or carers.
Some of the courses that the Centre now offers used to be delivered through College of the Peak. The College of the Peak brand is no longer in use as its work has been developed and expanded upon by the Derbyshire Eco Centre.
The Eco Centre Exchange is a place to share ideas and expertise around learning for sustainability. It forms a link between the Derbyshire Eco Centre and all those people who are involved in promoting sustainability learning.
The official webpages for Derbyshire Eco Centre can be found at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/ecocentre. We hope you find both sites useful.
Derbyshire Eco Centre is here to help you learn skills for 21st century life in a way that is both inspiring and fun. Our courses develop technical ability, creativity and decision making skills in a variety of subjects that link community, environment and economy.
Dip into the course listings and see the wide choice of taster and longer courses. If you're not sure what to go for get in touch and we'll help you make your choice! Details of all our courses are available from the courses section, or you can download the printable brochure and booking form.
The Derbyshire Eco Centre is the first of its kind - the only centre built by an adult community education service to promote sustainability skills anywhere in the country.
This brand–new building demonstrates sustainable building ideas and techniques. Find out more about the design, materials and technologies as well as see images of the centre's construction in the building section.
Our Summer brochure is out now, with details of our exciting range of courses coming up between Easter and July 2015. There have also been a few changes and additions since it went to print so don’t forget to check the Summer brochure update too. Weekly evening classes starting after Easter include crochet, hand weaving, organic gardening (veg growing), DIY for women, building in stone and Discover Middleton. Or for those with time on their hands during the day we have the amazing Spin, dye, felt, weave, knit where you have a go at everything it is possible to make with wool! And as always we have a wide range of one and two day courses at weekends and during the week – see the brochure, list of courses and Courses page for details.
Don’t forget we have family learning workshops in the Easter and Whitsun half term holidays for children between 4 and 14 and their grown ups. For more details go to the Get learning as a family section of our Courses page. It is now also possible to pay online or over the phone. For more details, see our Booking information page.
The topics and skills that are important to the sustainability agenda are so many and varied that the staff at the Eco Centre can only hope to be experts in very few areas. This site is where other people can contribute and share their ideas.
We want to share our expertise and learn from others who are committed to education for sustainability, such as:
We hope that the Eco Centre Exchange will be a way to:
You can affiliate yourself or your organisation to Derbyshire Eco Centre by becoming a member of Eco Centre Exchange. Membership is open to individuals and organisations who demonstrate that they support the work of the Eco Centre. More information about how to join and the benefits of membership can be found here.
Eco Centre Exchange was launched on 25 May 2011 at the Sustainable Communities Seminar held at the Eco Centre and organised in collaboration with the University of Derby. The first members of Eco Centre Exchange were presented with their membership certificates. Information about our current members, and links to their websites, can be found here.
We expect many of our courses to be very popular so it’s a good idea to get your name down early to be sure of a place. Here’s how:
You can now book on our courses online. Go to our Courses page to search for the course you want and then click on the ‘Get course details and book online’ button. This will take you to the page on the main Derbyshire County Council website where you can download full course details and pay online with a card.
You can now book and pay by card over the phone. Please call us on 01629 533038 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Complete the booking form opposite and return it together with your cheque (made payable to Derbyshire County Council) to:
Call in at the Eco Centre between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, all year round.
Course fees are displayed in 3 bands: A, B and C. These are inclusive of tuition and administration fees, and essential course materials. There may be other costs such as additional materials and books payable during the course.
For courses that result in a qualification there will be additional fees to pay to cover the cost of registration and/or examinations and tests. Our staff will be able to advise you about these. Learners will be expected to pay examination or test fees at the beginning of their course.
To find out more details about fee concessions, and the income-based benefits that entitle you to the Band C fee, please call the Eco Centre on 01629 533038 or take a look on the Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service course fees page here
If you are a new student to us you will need to bring two forms of identification with you on the day – passport, driving licence, utility bill, National Insurance card or Gold Card for instance.
We have space for hire at the Eco Centre. You can book it for independent use whether to hold a meeting or run a course of your own!
The Eco Centre is in a beautiful setting in central Derbyshire close to both the Peak District National Park and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
It is easily accessible from the major cities of the East Midlands by car or public transport. Find out more by following the link to the getting to the centre page in the also on this website section.
When our rooms are not in use for our courses they may be hired out for meetings, workshops and conferences on a day rental basis.
Our building is an aesthetically pleasing place to work, meet and learn and hiring our space also makes a statement about your sustainability values.
We let space affordably to organisations and individuals who share our ethos as well as discounted hire to organisations affiliated to us through the Eco Centre Exchange and other services within the council. Our hire charges can be found here.
You can then download the booking form and send it to us, with your deposit, to confirm you booking. Cheques should be made payable to Derbyshire County Council.
The Derbyshire Eco Centre has been built using sustainable methods, materials and technology to create an all–weather facility to deliver heritage building skills, sustainable technologies, rural crafts, arts, environment and energy saving courses.
We've designed and built the centre and the surrounding landscape to gain an 'excellent' standard from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Measure.
It is constructed using sustainable methods, materials and technologies including local stone, a living green roof, rainwater harvesting, air source heatpump and solar panels.
A second phase is planned to provide further sustainable technologies with the aim of making the site self sufficient in energy.
Our facilities include:
If you're interested in hiring some space in the buildings, we have more information about space hire available.
The centre cost £1.4 million and was funded by Derbyshire County Council, The Skills Funding Agency and the Derbyshire Economic Partnership.
The construction of the building is important in promoting sustainability to learners, partners, community groups, organisations and the wider public.
College of the Peak was set up in 2003, with the help of European LEADER+ funding. It was a partnership of learning, conservation and business organisations committed to the enhancement of learning opportunities in order to preserve heritage building skills. It worked with local craftspeople to develop a series of courses in dry stone walling, heritage building skills and woodland crafts.
College of the Peak was an approved LANTRA and City & Guilds centre and had a track record of working in partnership with local learning providers, such as schools, colleges and craft/trade organisations. Its courses - both accredited and non-accredited - were aimed at small businesses, conservation officers and local authority specifiers, architects, schools, special interest groups, professional organisations, and the general public.
When funding for College of the Peak ended in 2008 its activities were absorbed by Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service. The desire to continue College of the Peak’s curriculum and experience was instrumental is developing the concept of the Derbyshire Eco Centre. The range of courses and the geographical scope of sustainability learning have now expanded through the work of the Eco Centre.
Anyone who shares the ethos of Derbyshire Eco Centre, where ever they live and whatever their background, as long as they have a real desire to share expertise, skills and/or resources and to learn from other people who are also committed to education for sustainability.
Information about current Eco Centre Exchange members, and links to their websites, can be found here.
We don’t want you to feel guilty if you drive alone to the Eco Centre but we do offer a 10% discount to people who intend to travel more ‘sustainably’, (on foot, by bicycle, by public transport or by car-sharing). We have planned the timing of our courses to make getting to the Derbyshire Eco Centre by public transport as convenient as possible. If you would like to know the times and routes of buses and trains, see the traveline link below, or get in touch with us.
If public transport is not for you, you can also save money and cut carbon emissions if you are willing to try car-sharing. If you tick the ‘interested in car-sharing’ box on your booking form, we will send you the contact details of other people who have said the same, and send your details to them. You can make your own arrangements to car-share if there is someone who lives near you coming to the Eco Centre at the same time that day.
View Derbyshire Eco Centre in a larger map
Alternatively you can get details from traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or www.traveline.org.uk. If you are a Gold Card holder don’t forget that you get free travel on the buses after 9.30am as well as cheaper course costs (Fee B).
Simply click the link to the right and enter our postcode DE4 4LS into the destination box.
Postcode: DE4 4LS