Kitty Fundraising – A work in progress

Unless you’ve been hiding away, you can’t have missed our efforts to replace our community trip boat Kitty with a new electric powered boat.  Kitty is now rated Woking’s number 1 attraction on Trip Advisor so is definitely an asset we don’t want to lose.

The good news is that we’ve just about hit the half way point.  The bad news is that there’s still around £100,000 to go!  We clearly haven’t had a normal year for some time, but in a normal year getting grants for such a worthy cause would be difficult but not impossible.  After 2 years of granting organisations pledging all of their funds to keep charity, heritage and sports organisations afloat during the pandemic, we’re faced with granting bodies who are short of funds.  In addition a huge backlog of applications from organisations starved of project funding has built up.  It’s proved to be very tough.

However, after a huge amount of work we have managed to raise £8,000 in grants so while the cupboard has been pretty empty, it hasn’t been totally bare.  We added to this in December with a Crowd Funding Campaign which thanks to your generosity raised over £14,000.

This was followed by followed in February by a canal themed art exhibition and auction at The Lightbox.  Eighteen artists were kind enough to donate artworks for us to sell to raise funds for replacing Kitty.   This not only cost them time but also money – paint and canvasses cost money as does framing.  We’re very grateful to Ian Mowforth, Dodie Shariff, Carla D’Antonio, Brenda Ord, Stephen Kinder, Thinesh Thirugnanasampanthar, Zoe Navarre, Tinx Newton, Liz Seward, Ingrid Skoglund, Natalie Eliasz, Julia Jacs, Charles Twigg, Diana Uzun, Chris Wright, Alan Streets and Mark Weighton.  Many thanks also to the Canal Authority who donated some of their Nancy Larcombe collection.  The artworks were very well received by all including the staff at The Lightbox who were impressed by the vibrant and eclectic collection on show.  The art exhibition was definitely harder work than any of our previous Kitty fundraising but was worth it, raising around £2,500.  Many thanks also to all of the volunteers who stewarded at The Lightbox over the two weeks of the exhibition.

Also, a big thank you to Jonathan Lord MP who kindly agreed to appear in our video to publicise the cause and appeared at the opening ceremony for the art auction.

So we haven’t finished yet and going forwards, we’re still chasing grants and will also be looking for corporate donations as well as organising a sponsored fun run later in the year once the weather improves.

If you want to further help our fundrasing, donations can be made via the Basingstoke Canal Society website or contact .  We’re particularly interested in hearing from corporate donors who would like to have their name firmly associated with the new Kitty.