Late 1970s/Early 1980s:

Many people in Derby were deeply concerned at the increasing numbers of homeless, hungry, and very needy people knocking on the doors of presbyteries, churches, convents and charitable services, seeking food, rest and hot drinks. There grew a strong feeling within the City that something needed to be done.


Sister Paschal O’Brien Community Leader of the Sisters of Mercy at the Convent in Bridge Gate  released Sister Richard Croston from her teaching commitments to work full time with the hungry, homeless and those in need.


Together, Sister Richard Croston and Ann Morrisey from the Office of Social Responsibility at Derby Cathedral visited all members of the Derby City Fellowship of Churches – Baptist, Catholic, Church of England, Methodist, Pentecostal, Society of Friends, United Reform Church and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, regarding the possibility of providing a Day Centre for the homeless and those in need of support during the day.  This met with enormous support and a steering group was formed by these Churches.  A working plan was formulated and the search for a building began.


After a fruitless building search, spurred by a suggestion from Ann Morrisey, Sister Paschal and Sister Richard approached Canon Gatford regarding the ground floor or basement at Bridge Chapel House being made available.  Already committed to the project Cannon Gatford approached the Cathedral Board of Trustees and they agreed to make part of the ground floor at Bridge Chapel House available to become the Padley Day Centre and thanks to the donations, skills and hard work of all of the Churches in the City Fellowship and their parishioners, work commenced to make the area more fit for purpose.  This took some time as the Bridge Chapel and its attached building (Bridge Chapel House) were Grade A listed.   During this time Sister Richard who had been appointed co-ordinator of the project spent 10 months at The Passage Day Centre in London.

The name Padley was chosen as a direct link to the Padley Martyrs who came from Derbyshire and died for their beliefs.  Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam were arrested at Padley Hall at Grindleford on 12th July 1588 and were bought to Bridge Chapel which was at the time used as a prison.  A third priest, Richard Simpson was already at Bridge Chapel awaiting sentencing.  All three men were sentenced on 23rd July 1588, to be hung, drawn and quartered, this was carried out the following day at St Mary’s Bridge and their remains nailed to the external walls of the Chapel and draped over the entrance. They came to be known as the Padley Martyrs and were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987.   Thomas Fitzherbert and his brother John Fitzherbert whose arrests were the main purpose of the raid, were betrayed by John Fitzherbert’s son, Thomas.  Thomas Fitzherbert was sentenced to life imprisonment for harbouring priests and died on 2nd November 1591 in the Tower of London.  His brother John spent two years at Derby Gaol, following a rumoured large payment to avoid a death sentence and was then transferred to Fleet Prison in London where he died on 8th November 1590.


Sister Richard and her staff moved into the Centre on 24th September 1985 and The Padley Day Centre for the homeless and those in need was officially blessed on 29th September and opened on 3rd October 1985.

Once the Centre was opened, the local office of Manpower Services, under the supervision of John Smart became involved and provided a core paid staff.


The Baptist Church in Peartree, offered space for a craft centre. This became ‘The Peartree Craft Centre’ and originally formed part of the educational outreach for people with Learning Difficulties and Mental Health issues.


The shop on Sadler Gate was acquired to provide an outlet for craft items made by students at Peartree Crafts and to sell on donated items which were superfluous to the Day Centre requirements.


Sister Richard, who had worked tirelessly for the project since 1982 left Derby for a well earned    Sabbatical period and whilst to this day she still keeps in touch, her considerable talents were needed elsewhere.  We were delighted however when as part of the 25year celebrations she was able to join us and speak of the early days of Padley.


It had become evident that additional services were required to meet the needs of the growing numbers using the Centre, who had  a greater complexity of need, new premises were urgently needed.  The search for premises this time was much easier. The Charity was now well known, much appreciated and well supported.  With the help of the Churches, Wallbrook Housing Association and Derby City Council new premises in Becket Street were found.


Peartree Crafts became Padley Development Centre, a fully accredited training unit capable of delivering OCNs and NVQs and moved to its current site at Rutland Street in Normanton where it provides vocational and therapeutic activities, courses and project work for adults with mental health issues and/or learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities.

The Day Centre moves from Bridge Chapel House to its current location on Becket Street to enable more space for the Day Centre and the addition of a 10-bed direct access Hostel on the first floor.


As the Development Centre evolved so did the shop, it now generates income from donated items to support the charity.


The rear of Wilkins Memorial Hall was acquired and with the help of Lottery and Development Agency grants was converted to house our re-cycling operation.  Taking clothing and shoes from Derby City Council red bag re-cycling scheme.


The contract with Derby City Council ceased to be viable and re-cycling became extremely competitive as the recession hit and recyclers opened on every street corner.  The re-cycling operation closed and the building was converted to operate as a warehouse, whilst retaining an area for storage and sorting of donated clothes and bric a brac for the shop.


Development Centre introduces services for young adults with severe autism.


The Day Centre and Hostel together become the Padley Homeless Centre and form THE Homeless Hub for Derby.

Derby City Council cancelled all Supporting People contracts throughout the city, the outcome being the closure of many services for the homeless and vulnerable in the city.

Pop-up Warehouses are acquired to prepare for Good as New Sale and to sort Harvest. This is adopted as standard operating procedure for these events.


Pop-up shop acquired to sell-on Good As New stock post the sale.  This has since been adopted as a standard if possible.

Development Centre extends services to Transitional six formers with severe learning disabilities and severe autism.


Awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Services.

Runners up in the Derby Telegraph Business Awards.


Royal Visit from HRH Prince William