Derbyshire band adapts to ensure work continues to help local community during pandemic

A Derbyshire band handed a Central England Co-op community grant have revealed how they are still supporting the local community despite restrictions faced due to the Coronavirus.

Earlier this year, Ireland Colliery Chesterfield Band were given £1,250 to help youngsters in Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire get their first taste of learning to play music via plastic instruments. This forms part of a scheme aimed at getting children interested in playing brass instruments in a cost-effective manner.

Although the Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown have made that work difficult, the group has changed the way it operates to ensure its vital projects can continue to benefit people in the area during these uncertain times.

Ian Davey, from the band, said: “COVID-19 has halted all of the main band activities but we have managed to keep the junior band engaged by using video links to create a virtual ‘Zoom Band’ to play together.

“In addition we have been providing one to one tuition to the junior band members again via Zoom and we are pleased that the majority of players are still playing and getting involved.
“We used the Central England Co-op funding to purchase plastic instruments and these are being used by the junior band as above.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic as strong as we can and will resume concerts as soon as it is safe to do so and venues are prepared to let us in.  

“This has been an extremely difficult time for everyone and sadly some people have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic. Music can be a great comfort in times of stress and can raise spirits in the hardest of times. Stay safe and play/sing/dance your way through the gloom.”
The retailer’s Community Dividend Fund has been repurposed to provide immediate financial support for good causes, groups and charities helping communities deal with the impact of the Coronavirus.

Normally, grants from the fund are handed out four times a year to a wide range of organisations but, during the next four months, it has been decided to hand grants out on a monthly basis to support those suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic and others looking to step in to help those affected.

Grants range from £100 to £5,000 and are available to full members of Central England Co-op.

To apply, members will need: name, address, membership number, organisation type, organisation bank account or constitution and to explain what the group does, how the grant will be spent and the specific impact it will have related to COVID-19.

People can find out the full criteria and how to apply for funding by visiting