Equality groups from across Derby’s diverse communities have welcomed the official opening of a new fully accessible meeting room at the Council House.

A formal opening ceremony lead by the Mayor of Derby, Councillor John Whitby, gave many members of the city’s equality and diversity groups their first look at the newly constructed room.

The new room was built as part of the larger ground floor redevelopment project in the Council House which will see both the new Derby City Job Centre and Riverside library join other public services under one roof.

Ann Webster, the Council’s lead for Equality and Diversity commented:

“We meet regularly with our Equality Hubs and gather feedback about ways we can improve accessibility in the Council House and across Derby. The Ground Floor project was an excellent opportunity to address some of the feedback from the Hubs and create a new, bespoke room designed with our Equality Hub’s needs in mind. We’re all looking forward to making use of the room in the future.”

Councillor Baggy Shanker, Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance added:

“The Ground Floor Redevelopment has given us an opportunity to look at what we could do to improve existing facilities and make the Council House as accessible as possible for every resident in Derby as well as how we can generate income for the Council and think more commercially. I’m very pleased with the new meeting room and hope that it will be used and enjoyed by many people.”

John Carlin, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction Midlands, commented:

“Our work at the Council House is primarily about maximising the existing space and providing a building that better serves the needs of Council staff and the people of Derby. This new meeting room exemplifies that goal and the Council’s commitment towards diversity and equality, offering a new, more accessible facility that we hope will prove very useful for the local community.”

Wates were procured to the project through the empa framework, which is managed by Scape Procure, a public-sector organisation, dedicated to creating ongoing efficiency and social value via the built environment. Work recently began on site, and is expected to be complete in mid-2018.