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My village has lost its pub, though poor management. The pub is available to be purchased. The community spirit of the village (no pun intended) has gone down since the pub closed. A group of us, supported by the Parish Council, are looking into the possibility of buying the pub, perhaps through a CIC or something similar. The site has space for a village pub, a cafe/restaurant, motel style rooms and business premises. As such, it could create a social centre for the village.

Does anyone have any advice they can give us? Bear in mind we are a small village, around 300 residents, are close to a coastal resort in an attractive part of the country, with an aging population.

Many thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Tags: community, purchase

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Hi Neil

Try this as a start: http://www.herefordcamra.org.uk/local.htm

I think CAMRA are the most likely to have done the research into this since its in their interest to keep pubs in the heart of the community.

That said, You're close to the coast, so there's possibly the use of land for camping?

Also, there are lots of 'learning holiday' opportunities that could be developed. For instance, put up a few Yurts, engage with local artists, photographers etc, use whats in your area. I think the main problem you'll have is 'how to fill the place with people from outside the area in the winter?'. Bring them in from all over the UK by promoting the 'activity - learning experience'. There's a plethora of things you could develop, they all end up in the pub on an evening....

Obviously, I'm putting some random ideas together here, but you live there, from our conversations you seem pretty switched on. It's about the sustainability and 'what it's going to look like in 5 years time', isn't it. It's always best to have a target at the start, imagine what 'success' looks like, what you'll need in place to 'be there', and develop 'backwards' if that makes sense.

Social enterprises are easy to set up, you'll need a core board, I think CLG, set up as a SE is the quickest way to get something going and start the 'movement', this can easily be made a CIC down the line. I'd consider employing someone local who can engage with your community and do the leg work in the set up. This way you've got someone who isn't relying on earning a wage and then trying to do this activity 'on the side'.

It's then a case of being flexible with the funding around. there's this:

http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_reaching_communities

Should be ideal for what you're doing, they've a really good helpline, suss them out first. There's 2 main parts to this - 1 purchase of a building, one per area, check if your area has already had one, - 2 up to £50k to renovate an existing property with up to £100k per year for five years to run it. This part of the fund can be applied for several times for different projects in an area, also you can have several applications from 1 project acting in different areas.

I think it may be possible to have the first SE owning the pub, with another SE or CIC applying for the fund and running in the building. Be creative is what I'm getting at.

There'll be some 'employment grants' available, I'd try to arrange it so that you fit the criteria required.

You have to be a formed board before you'll get owt.

It's a start! Someone on here will probably have done this, maybe you can pick their brain. Don't want to "teach you how to suck eggs"

Thanks Paul. The CAMRA site has taken me to some info, but their Community Pubs Foundation is either not set up yet or has been closed down. However, they got me to The Pub is the Hub. Some good info there.

I'll have a ring around tomorrow, Neil, See if any contacts have some further info. I've a pretty good network

Thanks Paul. I need to do a lot more work this end. We have two experts on funding in the village, and others who have useful skills. We have a Parish Council meeting this week - the "shadow board" are currently all Parish Councillors - so I'll try and get us started a bit more formally then.

Neil

I think the first thing you need to do is to pull out all the stops to get everyone on board in your community. Even people who are not pub-goers can be persuaded to join in if you make it clear that what is being lost is a community-hub, not a drinking-den, and that community ownership will mean the facility can be opened up to more uses than before.

Once you have done this, I think you need to explore Community Share options, and see if you can get some high profile supporters on your side.

Here are some videos I shot of people who have been there and done it on the community pub front

 

http://youtu.be/CQAbGd71hwc

http://youtu.be/7WQWVh6SqyA

and here is a presentation on Community Share offers

http://youtu.be/_6YygMILqNE

Good luck!

 

Thanks John. The intention is very much to create a community hub, and it links into a couple of the businesses in the village and a Heritage Centre we are working on.

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