Those behind the Solent Freedom Tunnel have launched a new Crowdfunder campaign to raise £96,000 to fund a viability study by engineering firm, Arup, for a fixed-link to the Isle of Wight.
As previously reported by News OnTheWight Carl Feeney and Kevin Price first launched their proposed plans for a Solent Tunnel six years ago in 2014. A GoFundMe appeal was later launched in 2016, which raised £3,000.
Fast forward to 2017 and Tim Cooper (now not involved), Kevin Price and Carl Feeney, set up Able Connections Ltd, to move the campaign to the next level.
This was followed a year later in 2018 with an appeal for £130,000 for a viability study, which attracted £4,000 in just a matter of days. The GoFundMe appeal page is reporting having raised just over £6,500.
New Crowdfunder campaign
Kevin Price got in touch at the end of last week to announce that almost £25,000 has already been raised and a new Crowdfunder campaign has been launched to raise the remaining £96,000 that’s needed for the study (they managed to get Arup to reduce the £130,000 quote for the work to £120,000).
Kevin says that once the viability study is performed,
“Arup will present it to the Government, then a full feasibility study will need to be performed.”
He went on to say,
“The Government have recently announced over £600 billion is available for infrastructure projects, and they have set up a new ‘Acceleration unit’ to speed up projects.
“This is a non-profit campaign, so all donations go towards the study.”
Questions about funds raised
Ahead of publishing, News OnTheWight put the following questions to the team.
- What has changed to make you move from GoFundMe over to Crowdfunder?
- We notice that the GoFundMe has about £6k, where has the other £19k come from?
- Where is the money being held?
- What is the exact total amount that has been raised so far and from what date?
Feeney: Three ways to donate
Carl Feeney explained,
“The GoFundMe platform is still active, but a new reinvigorated push to achieve the amount required to start the Arup study, needs a new platform to introduce that.
“There are now three ways to donate – two fundraising platforms or the direct transfer of the contribution into the Campaign Barclays community account, which is actually the most preferable because no platform fee is taken, and the contribution can be fully refunded to the donor if need be.”
He went on to explain,
“The contributions paid into GoFundMe are transferred from the fundraising platform straight into the ‘Pro-Link Campaign Fund Community Account’ at Barclays in Newport. The account statements show these transferred payments named as ‘Stripe’.
“The other £19,000 has been transferred directly from contributors own accounts into the Campaign fund account. I have contributed £3,000 into the fund personally this way. I’m very keen to see this done so the Island can prosper.”
Feeney: Full disclosure
In response to our question about how much has been raised and where it is held Carl said,
“Full and absolute disclosure of the process is paramount in order for there to be no ambiguity of honesty or trust.
“Unfortunately, but typically, there are individuals and companies out there who have vested interests to make sure the study does not go ahead. They clearly fear the results and conclusions. These people have attempted to discredit this fundraising process as a “scam”, using social media mainly to do so.
“Each month, the Community account bank statement is published on the ‘IOW Fixed link tunnel campaign’ group on Facebook. It then gets archived in the ‘announcements’ section so that anyone can view previous statements. All incomings (names redacted for privacy reasons) are published as are any outgoings.”
At today’s date this is the amount raised so far is £24,542.85 including the £3,000 contribution by Carl and the GoFundMe amounts.
If you’d like to find out more visit the ‘Solent Freedom Tunnel’ Fixed Link Viability Study Crowdfunder Page.