A local community has clubbed together to rescue its village pub from the brink through a £130,000 refinancing through the Co-operative’s Enterprise Hub.
Local residents in Hebden Bridge raised money and arranged a community share offer through the Co-op’s scheme to buy and refurbish The Fox – which has been listed as an alehouse since the early 14th century.
Shares cost from £100 – up to a maximum investment of £20,000 – to co-own the pub and become a member of the co-operative society – known as The Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd – set up to bring the popular pub into community ownership after ill health forced the current landlady to announce that she could no longer continue to run the pub.
Councillor Dave Young, chairman of the Fox Friends, said: “After months of hard work we’ve reached the crucial point in the campaign to save our beloved pub.
“We can now offer residents and real ale fans alike the rare opportunity to own part of what truly is a community asset, it’s a chance to preserve the character of this much loved pub for the benefit of the community now and, for future generations.”
There has been a near ten per cent increase in UK co-operative enterprises over the last two years, rising from 5,450 to approaching 6,000.
The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest member-owned organisation with 7 million members, has committed a further £1million this year to developing The Co-operative Enterprise Hub – a free service supporting the creation and growth of sustainable community-owned enterprises.
Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative’s Head of Community and Co-operative Investment, said: “Co-operation can be key to safeguarding much-loved local assets. Communities working together are a powerful catalyst for change capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing today’s society, environment and economy.”
The share offer is open until 29 July 2013 – or until the fundraising target is achieved – with Directors of the Community Benefit Society on hand in the pub to answer any questions or assist with online applications on Monday, 1 July, from 7 – 9pm, and on Sunday, 14 July, from 1-4pm.
For more information about plans to bring The Fox and Goose into community ownership visit www.foxandgoose.org.
For more information about co-operative solutions to the running of businesses and services, contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub at www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub.