November 2019 will go down as one of the defining months in the mission to save the cottage.
– Our newly formed restoration volunteers group did an amazing job clearing the cottage ready for the construction phase. Over 6 days, the team cleared all the debris that had accumulated inside the cottage over the past 30 years. 20 tons was shovelled, bagged and removed from site. The original floor has now been uncovered and the building is ready for scaffolding . It was bloomin hard work, but very satisfying, and great for the soul…Here’s a few photos of the fun we had…(spot the 1950’s boot polish lid found in the debris!)
– Thanks to all this activity, there’s been a significant increase in public awareness of the project. The photos of the volunteers at work, posted on the Friends of Aqueduct Cottage FB page, triggered loads of interest and membership has rocketed. As we approach the 3rd year anniversary of the FB page on 8th December, there are now over 1150 members. At the beginning of the year, there were 300!
– A positive meeting was held with the Case Officer at Amber Valley Council earlier in the month and a response was sent to satisfy the conditions attached to the planning consent. We expect to receive formal discharge of conditions early-mid December.
– By far the most exciting news for the project – The Pilgrim Trust confirmed its award to Derbyshire Wildlfe Trust of a £35,000 grant towards the restoration of the cottage. This was a fantastic boost to the project and means there are now sufficient funds to restore the building.
– Thanks to this generous grant, we are now within touching distance of the funding target of £70,000. So, DWT launched a Crowfunder page to help raise the balance of funding required to complete the project.
– Good news triggers more good news and during the month, several local businesses offered to help the project. The free services and materials include a footings survey , PR assistance, free building materials, and an amazing stump grinder to remove awkward tree roots!
We slso owe huge thanks to fellow volunteers at the Cromford Canal and Codnor Park Res group who loaned us their power barrow. It was a great help carrying the bags of debris along the canal towpath to the skip. Another star of the month was Dougie Porter, from Ascent Tree Solutions, who volunteered to remove the huge Ash root that was lodged at the base of the cottage wall. The photos say it all!
Thanks to everyone who has stepped in to help with the restoration. This is turning out to be a brilliant community project.
As we start December, we look forward to our “pre-construction meeting” with the builder, Andrew Churchman Ltd. At this meeting we shall be discussing the build programme, and agreeing dates for the construction site to be established.
What an exciting moment this will be – with the scaffolding erected, it will be a clear signal to all that the mission to rebuild the cottage is finally underway.