WWCE started with absolutely no funds in 2016. We needed to convert the community support for the project into something more tangible and none of our group had any specific experience in fundraising on this scale. Over the next three years, we tried a variety of different community events aimed at raising awareness further in the local area and building a pot of money that would help us towards the costs of the work that would come further down the line.
In early 2019 our fundraising was escalated to a new level as an agreement between Leicester City Council, Parmar Properties and ourselves neared. We began preparations to launch a crowdfunding campaign later that year. The intention of this would be to specifically raise the funds we would need to appoint an architect and cover the cost of the numerous surveys that would need to be carried out so we could submit planning for the redevelopment work. In September of that year, we held the first event of the crowdfund, The Western Park Scarecrow Trail. Another five events followed between then and the end of January 2020 which, along with cash pledges (including £5000 from the City Major) meant that we exceeded our funding target. In total, we raised almost £30,000. Planning was initially submitted for our proposed works in February 2020. During this year we also reached a wider audience with our plans, appearing in the local newspapers, on the local radio, and on regional television news.
The local ward councillors were, and continue to be very supportive of our endeavours and have helped towards the costs of putting on some of the events particularly as we continued with our fundraising efforts throughout 2020. The number of events we were able to hold was impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic, in spite of this we were still able to repeat the Scarecrow Trial which became even bigger than the first one. We also launched a community calendar competition and held a Christmas lights festival called “Light Up Western Park” in December.
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