Canal Trust Steps Up Fund Raising Efforts With New Appointment

Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust has appointed its first dedicated fund raiser to drive forward ambitious plans to bring the former Derby Canal back to its former glory.

The Trust was founded in 1993 with the aim of restoring a 12.5 mile stretch between Derby and Sandiacre to connect to the Trent and Mersey and Erewash Canals. This would create a 25 mile ring with access to more than 2,000 miles of navigable waterways across the UK.

As well as restoring the canal and enhancing the lives of the local population, the ambitious programme includes creating a £20m development featuring a canal hub in Pride Park centred on an ‘arm’ boat lift to transport boats down to the river so that they can then travel up the Derwent to the Silk Mill in the city centre.

The restoration of the overall canal project is expected to cost around £60m and be completed within a ten year programme.

The Trust has detailed engineering designs, secured outline planning permission, water rights and most of the canal route land so the final step is to get the funding in place to bring their vision to reality.

They have appointed Laura Wigg-Bailey as their Fundraising Manager, who will work with Grant funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, regeneration funds, grant foundations, commercial lenders, businesses and of course the public, to raise funds.

Laura brings strategic nous and a hands on approach to the Trust having advised both private sector and heritage based concerns. She combines an understanding of the value of heritage with an entrepreneurial spirit to form productive partnerships as seen at the Uttoxeter Heritage Trust, Stockport Museums and on a number of heritage funding projects across the UK.

Laura said: “My family has had a long association with the canals and waterways and my childhood home was situated on the Rochdale canal so I spent many happy years enjoying the water walking along the towpath.

“My uncle also ran a canal cruise boat company in the Calder Valley which was a very successful visitor attraction and I worked with him from an early age.

“I have since worked in the heritage and cultural sector for many years handling projects and fund raising so I am delighted to bring all of this together and work with the well established and successful team at the Trust.

“The plans that they have are both inspiring and exciting and I am confident that funding sources will recognise the cultural, economic and social benefits of bringing the former Derby Canal back to life.”

Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust Chair Chris Madge said: “Laura’s appointment fills the last remaining gap in experience of our management team and will demonstrate to potential funders that we serious about making our vision a reality.

“We are currently working on multiple projects including the Draycott ‘Golden Mile’ of canal and restoration of 6 cottages, together with two lock restorations in Borrowash and Sandiacre and a trip boat along the River Derwent in the city centre. Laura’s strategic approach to fundraising will therefore be crucial to enable us to maintain the rapid pace, delivering current projects and future sections quickly.

Mr Madge continued: “The restored canal will be at the heart of the Midlands’ canal network which is already benefiting from renewed interest in canal holidays and boating in general.

“The Derby and Sandiacre Canal will attract more than its fair share of visitors, especially with a boat lift and canal visitor hub and boat trips to the Cathedral Green and the Silk Mill.

“Independent forecasts show that these attractions will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and create hundreds of jobs at the visitor attractions and at new and existing businesses along the canal route.

“In today’s Britain, it’s clear that waterways have the potential to enhance our sense of wellbeing, touching all aspects of our daily lives, encouraging outdoor activity along the canal route as well as providing valuable habitats for a wide variety of wildlife.

“We therefore have a strong case for commercial and grant funding and this key appointment will be crucial to us achieving these goals.”

For more information about the work of Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust please visit

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