Local Councils Using Crowdfunding For Restoration Projects

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Brighton seafront is iconic. While the burnt out remains of the West Pier that have been sitting in the sea since 2003 make the perfect backdrop for BBQs on the beach, other parts of the seafront falling into disrepair are becoming dangerous.

Located on the left of the pier (towards Brighton Marina), Madeira Terraces is a Grade II listed iron structure, which contains 151 arches. The arches have been part of the seafront since the Victorian era, but are now in danger of collapsing, if they do not receive restoration work.

Last year, Brighton and Hove council applied to the government for funding to help repair the derelict structure, which has been closed since 2013, to prevent people from getting injured.

However, they lost out in the bid, meaning the structure is still waiting for the much-needed renovation.

After failing to secure the funding, the council set up a crowdfunding campaign, where anyone who pledges £2 or more becomes a “friend” of Madeira Terraces, and is allowed to vote on what the arches will be turned into.

The crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise £430,669, to renovate just 2 of the arches. It’s estimated that the full renovation project of all the arches could be as high as £30m, although arguably it could ‘pay for itself’ if the area is utilised well enough.

While Crowdfunding has been used to fund everything from start-up businesses to artistic projects, the last few years have seen a spike in the number of councils using crowdfunding as a method of obtaining money to complete projects.

For example, Manchester council successfully crowdfunded enough money to begin restoration on the famous Ancoats Dispensary.

In the capital, Mayor Sadiq Khan launched Crowdfund London as a method of helping to raise money for projects that just fall shy of receiving government funding.

While crowdfunding has been used to raise money for some bizarre projects, it is clear that it has many practical uses, especially with so many councils using it as a mainstream funding project.

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