The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust has nearly reached its first major milestone in the ambitious £352,000 restoration of a ‘golden mile’ of canal in Draycott.
The trust have now raised £85,000 in pledges, close to the £100,000 which could unlock matched funding needed to begin construction work this summer.
Chairman Chris Madge said: “We are very nearly over the goal line, which will demonstrate to funding bodies the strength of public support for our plans.”
Pledges have been flooding in from local people, businesses and canal enthusiasts nationwide.
Chris said: “We are delighted that so many people share our vision and are prepared to help us to fund it.
“I would urge anyone who has not yet pledged their support to do so quickly so that we can start work on this exciting project as soon as possible.”
The aim is to create a valuable leisure and tourist facility for canoeing and fishing, as well as walkers, cyclists and horses along an upgraded canal-side route.
Work has already started to convert six derelict canal cottages in Draycott into a £600,000 multi-use base for the trust, with an information centre and space for leisure businesses.
Funding for that part of the project will be raised through commercial development loans.
The trust’s long-term goal is the restoration of 13 miles of the former Derby Canal stretching from the city to Sandiacre, linked with the Trent and Mersey and Erewash Canals, as well as a boat lift on to the River Derwent.
For more detail on the plan and how to support it, see www.derbycanal.org.uk.