Activities

Belper Unitarians have a variety of interesting activities in addition to our regular services.
There are social activities and open days (see below), and we have two established ongoing groups. In all cases the groups are open and newcomers are welcome to join at any time:

Discussion Group

Discussion of topical, philosophical and lifestyle issues. 10.30 am on the second Saturday of the month.


Ukulele Group

Beginners and more advanced players welcome. 6.30 pm alternate Tuesdays as advertised.


Singing for Joy

The Chapel's singing group has recently been re-launched. 6.30 pm alternate Tuesdays (i.e. when no Ukuleles!)


Meditation Group

For anyone who would like to explore (mainly) silent meditation, and discuss experiences and technique with others doing the same. Beginners very welcome.
This group was running twice monthly until the end of June 2016, when it was suspended while we review how to continue the ministry of silence and meditation within the chapel and the wider community. If you would like to contribute to that review in any way (e.g. by suggesting the needs you have or by offering the help you can) you are most welcome to get in touch.
For more details contact Andy Phillips on 01773 823160 or email

Chapel Open Days and Coffee Morning

Come and look around our historic chapel. INCLUDING: visit catacomb where members of the famous Strutt family were interred. These will occur as advertised.

The Chapel's chosen charity for 2013/4 was the Drop Inn youth centre in Belper and proceeds from our coffee mornings will typically be going to this very deserving cause. We recently hosted a concert in aid of the Drop Inn on 5 April 2014 where young performers Amy & Lily, and others, provided the entertainment, and where 295 in donations were given for the Drop Inn cause.

Social Activities

Meeting in the chapel

We hold various social activities for the congregation e.g. Christmas party (just had the really successful 2014 version of this!). We have recently instigated a bi-monthly social. Also occasional poetry readings and speakers on literature and local history have occurred in the past.

There have been a number of very successful Poetry Evenings in the chapel over the last 2-3 years, during which poems and supper were shared. The most recent one was on Friday 5th July 2013.


We also host live musical events from time to time at the chapel. On Saturday 5th April 2014 the chapel hosted Amy & Lily and a number of other excellent young local musicians, who played an excellent gig in aid of local youth charity "The Drop Inn". Several hundred pounds were raised for "The Drop Inn" by this event and through our Coffee Mornings during the last year or so. Slightly further back(26th and 28th September 2013 respectively) we have hosted the Ripley Community Ensemble and SilverSpiral, both concerts in aid of Chapel Fabric Fund (thank you!). A little further back still (28th April 2012) we hosted a benefit for the charity "Send A Child to Hucklow" which featured Pete Castle, Chris Preston, Sue MacFarlane and Joe Smith. A very entertaing evening was had by all and very useful funds raised during the charity's 50th anniversary year. Also Belper Musical Theatre performed "Songs from the Shows" in the chapel (on Friday 16th October 2009). More recently we have had evenings of folk music with local musicians performing.


Because of its history and connection to the Strutt family the chapel is an intrinsic part of Belper's vibrant local heritage scene, now enhanced by being part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, and consequently hosts a number of heritage related events and activities. On a partly related front the chapel played a role as a host in the 2014 Belper Arts Festival Trail where over 4th/5th May the chapel hosted artists Alan Withington (photography - trading as Roaring Tree Photography) and Rob Blunt (mixed media - trading as Robert Blunt Artcycle) - and their work. Recently in 2015 (3rd/4th May) we repeated our involvement with the Arts Festival Trail, this time hosting local artists Gwin Kerry (Jewellery) and Nansy Ferret-Campbell (Mixed Media). And another very successful weekend ensued.


The work of the Derbyshire writer Leslie Crichton Porteous is of interest to some members and we hosted a lecture about his life and writings.


We also held a Table Top Sale at the Chapel on Saturday 17th July 2010.



Poetry Trail

Belper Unitarian Chapel is, after much struggle and work on behalf of many people, an official part of Beth's Poetry Trail. The trail was established as a permanent memorial to Beth Fender who both loved poetry and was a founder of the two Poetry groups in Belper. The Plaque, affixed to the boundary railings, displays a poem 'To Nature' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge who had many Unitarian links.

The Plaque was dedicated following the service on Nov 16th 2008.

East Midlands Unitarians (EMU)

Belper is a member of the East Midlands district (along with other neighbouring congregations such as Derby, Nottingham, Charnwood and Leicester). We participate in, and sometimes host, district events and meetings, including quarterly meetings (which sometimes include guest speakers or workshops) and the annual district service. EMU also organises an annual weekend, normally in June, at the Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow, Derbyshire.
We not so long ago (27 May 2012) hosted the EMU Annual Service at Belper, completely filling the chapel, and a very enjoyable afternoon/evening (not least the tea!) was had by all. Long live Unitarianism in the East Midlands!