Paddlers of all ages and abilities will be able to get out onto Leicester’s waterways with a new kayak launch.
Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre had launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £33,000 to install a new launch making it easier, and safer, for both able-bodied and disabled people to take part in paddle sport activities.
The Trust was able to secure a huge £15,000 via the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, which put the fundraising target in sight – and with just days to go before the appeal closes on 31 March, the City Mayor’s CrowdFund Leicester programme has donated £1,250 to ensure the appeal reached its target. Local businesses and centre users were also amongst the 80+ backers pledging cash to the project.
Work on the centre’s new kayak launch area is due to get under way in the autumn.
Centre manager Stuart Fraser, who launched the crowdfunding appeal on behalf of the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have reached our target and want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made a donation.
“We now have the funds we need to stabilise the riverbank and create a bigger and better launch area that will make paddle sports on the River Soar more accessible to people of all ages and all abilities.
“As an independent charity, and a community facility, we’ve been blown away by the reaction we’ve had to our crowdfunding appeal. We can’t wait to start work on the new launch area and look forward to introducing lots more people to our brilliant paddle sport activities.”
Philip Mulligan, regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s fantastic news that Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre has secured the funding for the new kayak launch.
“Leicester’s waterways have got a really important part to play in helping people to lead happier, healthier, more active lives and so we were delighted to support this project. LOPC is a vital fixture on Leicester’s waterways and have even adopted their local stretch, helping us to keep things looking neat and tidy.
“The new launch will enable people of all ages and abilities to get out on the water and experience the health and wellbeing benefits that our waterways provide.”
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre is a fantastic facility that offers local people of all ages the chance to have a go at an impressive range of both indoor and outdoor activities.
“The paddle sports they offer are hugely popular, with people of all abilities exploring the waterways in canoes or on paddle-boards, but their existing kayak launching area is in urgent need of replacement.
“I’m delighted that CrowdFund Leicester was able to make the final donation that helped the LOPC reach their target and I look forward to trying out the new launch area once it’s built.”