The temperature may be dropping in icy Derbyshire this month, but at Cromford Mill there’s a thermometer edging its way upwards.
The gigantic thermometer – launched last year by former Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom – measures the fund- raising efforts of the Arkwright Society as it presses on with plans to restore and transform the mill complex in to a top-notch international tourist destination.
The society is about to enter into the largest development phase the site has seen since the regeneration programme began more than 30 years ago, but needs public support to bridge a funding gap.
One of the mills largest building is being turned into a world-class visitor centre and creative industries hub that will make the site self supporting while work is carried out.
To fund the development of the visitor centre, since April 2012 more than £40,000 has been raised, pushing the thermometer up to a total of £75,000
The society must raise a further £200,000 in order to be able to proceed with the development of the building.
One of the mill’s most successful ideas for fund-raising has been the introduction of loveable cuddly toy ducks, available in the shops and restaurants on site.
Chief Executive of the Arkwright Society Sarah McLeod said: “We’re working really hard to transform the Cromford Mill site, and the on-going fund-raising programme is certainly helping, with over £70,000 raisedso far.
“One of the greatest ways of supporting us is to buy one of our adorable ducks – they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Easter – and the money raised helps towards our fund-raising target.”
Another success for the site has been a prize draw, which will be drawn on Saturday, March 30 during a Georgian Day at the mill as part of their Easter celebrations. “We had some really fabulous prizes donated by businesses across the county, and ticket sales have gone very well – but there are still tickets left, so doplease come down to the mill and take part if you can,” said Sarah.
Once complete, the visitor centre will make the mill self-sustaining. The Arkwright Society has then raised more than £3 million, with a further £1 million earmarkedfor the main project .
Richard Arkwright developed technology at the mill complex at Cromford that changed the world we live in, giving rise to the industrial revolution by creating the modern factory system. Over the past three decades it has been rescued from demolition by the Arkwright Society.