Pursuing their vision and determination to save cultural heritage, a group of motivated French citizens decided that the best way to preserve a crumbling castle was to own it. The idea of owning such a property however is often not within the means of most people. But what about thousands of people?
In 2017, the group of young people began a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising the money to buy the property, but also leading the way to co-ownership. The main aim of the campaign was that by doing so, the public would then be allowed to enjoy a landmark which would otherwise simply collapse and crumble. It took two years of work, together with lawyers, architects, and heritage specialists, which resulted in a legal and business framework that made the basis for the the organisation of the plan and project to restore the Mothe Chandeniers castle.
The castle became France’s largest crowdfunding campaign and thus more than 25 000 people from 115 countries have become owners of the enchanting landmark. In restoring the castle, many organisations have offered free or discounted materials, volunteer work or direct funding. More donations campaigns are to be organised led by the new owners of the castle.
In the future there is a sound plan to generate revenue, for example, from entry tickets, hosting events, and opening bed and breakfast accommodation for tourists.
In terms of the governance of the property, given the large amount of shareholders, it features a general annual meeting, which will presents financial and progress reports to shareholders and vote on the board members. Each individual shareholder will be entitles to one vote. The Board of directors has the responsibility to manage the restoration process and promotional activities. The Steering Committee is comprised of elected officials and heritage experts which oversee the long-term planning of the project.
The initiative is part of a larger project entitled Adopt a Castle.
Photos sourced from the website of the initiative.