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Project to bring eco house back into use seeks crowdfunding support

Published on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Artist's impression of Project Hive revamp

AN ambitious project to bring Leicester’s former eco house back into community use is seeking public support through a crowdfunding appeal.

Western Ward Community Enterprise (WWCE) hopes that its ‘Project Hive’ appeal will help raise £26,000 to kickstart its plans for a major refurbishment of the vacant building and land in Western Park.

If successful, the group will use the money to carry out detailed design work and support a bid for up to £400,000 of national funding to bring the building back into community use.

Anna Mcauley, chair of WWCE, said: “Project Hive is an exciting project that will help keep the former eco house on Western Park community use for generations to come.

“It’s been standing empty for far too long. It’s time to bring the space alive again through our project to create a centre for lifelong learning.

“We want to create a new sustainable, eco-friendly and bio-diverse place that people across Leicester can enjoy. We want it to be a place that keeps people of all ages excited about learning new things and meeting new people.

“We need about £400,000 to make this a reality. Before we apply for national funding, we need to develop our proposals and show that the community is behind us.

“I hope people will visit our funding page to find out more about our plans for Project Hive and how they can support us by pledging whatever they can.”

The project has already achieved over half of its £26,000 target through community fundraisers, including a scarecrow trail and a Halloween pumpkin rolling event, and pledges of support from over 100 backers.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby - who has pledged £5,000 to the project from his community engagement fund - is hosting the appeal via his crowdfunding initiative, CrowdFund Leicester.

“I am really pleased to support this exciting proposal which would help see the former eco house make a positive contribution to the city and local community once more,” he said.

“The Western Ward Community Enterprise are clearly passionate about Project Hive and I wish them the best of luck with their appeal.”

The project has also been promised £1,250 of funding from the Western ward community fund.

Western Ward Community Enterprise has appointed GSSArchitecture to develop initial designs for the project, including a new artist’s impression of how the revamped building could look.

GSSArchitecture’s Andrew Vallis, who is leading the design for the project, said: “It’s great to be working alongside Western Ward Community Enterprise on this project, providing this new community facility, which takes advantage of the history of the existing site, respecting its environmental ethos and the part it has played in Leicester's story.”

Pledges will only be collected, if the project reaches its target of £26,000 by Sunday 15 December.

CrowdFund Leicester is hosted by crowdfunding platform Spacehive.

The City Mayor launched the initiative in September 2017 to help community groups turn their ideas into reality.

To date, CrowdFund Leicester has helped twelve campaigns turn their ideas into reality, with over 800 backers pledging almost £215,000 in total.