Christmas wish list – Sarah McLeod, The Arkwright Society

Sarah McLeod

Sarah McLeod, chief executive of The Arkwright Society (Cromford Mills) tells us what’s on her Christmas wish list, and what’s next for her sector in 2017.

All I want for Christmas is my new WCs!

We always planned for the £50m regeneration programme at Cromford Mills to be rolled out in four phases, the first of which, the World Heritage Site Visitor Gateway and Cromford Creative opened in March this year. Work on developing the planning and funding proposals for the second phase are already underway and we hope to have contractors on site towards the end of 2018 – but I simply cannot wait that long for the new WCs block!

Our existing facilities are antiquated and worse still you can only access the disabled facilities via the gents! Likewise, if you want to use the baby changing facilities you can only do so in the women’s WCs.

Apparently, the late Dowager Duchess once said that having clean and warm toilets is the key to a successful visitor attraction. I suspect it is true. We have recently been granted planning permission and listed building consent to completely reconfigure the loos, with new added showers, and unisex baby change and disabled facilities.

So, I’ll be wishing as hard as I possibly can that Cromford’s Christmas present this year will be new loos sooner rather than later!

Any charitable or non-for-profit organisation will understand just how tightly we are being squeezed in the current economic climate. We are all seeking ways of being more resilient, be it through more efficient spending or the introduction of innovative new ways of generating income.

The third sector has far more in common with the private sector than one might think – we are a creative and inventive sector and we take on challenges that others would simply walk away from. I think we will see far more private/third sector partnerships over the coming year, where the best of both sectors will come together to advance the most challenging projects.