It has been all hands to the pump in a Cumbrian village in readiness for the official re-opening of The Butchers Arms (Saturday, 27 August) after villagers fighting to save the pub succeeded in raising the money to buy, refurbish and re-open their ‘local’.
The campaign led by determined residents from Crosby Ravensworth encouraged almost 300 people to take a ‘stake’ in the traditional Cumbrian pub, investing from £250 to raise the £300,000 needed to help to put the heart back into the community
With support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, the determined community registered as a co-operative - The Lyvennet Community Pub Ltd – and, after an offer to buy the pub for £255,000 was accepted by the vendor (March 2011), launched a community share issue to generate the money needed.
The pub had been closed for almost 12 months however, over recent weeks, it has felt the benefit of community co-operation with volunteers carrying out the gardening, plumbing, building, decorating, electrical and carpentry tasks needed.
The pub has been rewired, the beer-garden overhauled and, a full commercial kitchen has been created. The installation of new log burners and an impressive oak bar completed the transformation.
Officially opening The Butchers Arms is John Stubbs who is flying in especially from Victoria (Australia). John grew up in the pub when his mother, Olive, owned it between 1958-78 and, bought shares in the enterprise after hearing about the campaign to save his former home!
John Stubbs – who left Crosby Ravensworth almost 40 years ago, commented: “I’m certain my mother would be thrilled if she knew that The Butchers Arms was getting a new lease of life with such enthusiastic support from the local community.”
Cameron Smith, treasurer of the new co-operative, said: “This has been an incredible community project to be involved in and, this pub will now benefit from having around 300 ‘co-owners’ committed to its future success. It has brought our community together in many different ways and, the support already received from volunteers and trades could not have been better.
“We have been overwhelmed with the interest in the project. We have shareholders coming from all corners of the UK and, even have a waiting list of potential investors for future share allocations. Around half of our members are local but we have had investors from as far afield as Alaska, America and Australia.
“Our aim has always been quite simple, to buy, refurbish and re-open a traditional Cumbrian pub that will source locally and support the local community and economy wherever possible, selling good quality food, real ales and, offering a warm welcome to all.”
Michael Fairclough, Head of Community and Campaigns at The Co-operative Group - which has committed £7.5 million over the next three years to develop The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and provide the training, advice and business consultancy needed to create and grow sustainable member-owned enterprises - said: “The co-operative model offers an alternative way to do business, a robust approach to enterprise that can contribute to the re-building of a more balanced and sustainable economy.
“As concern for sustainability, ethical trading, environment and accountability continue to grow, more and more people are turning to the co-operative model. This is yet another example of how co-operating can help to address some of the unprecedented challenges currently facing society, the environment and our economy.”
New landlords, Keith Taylor and Bev Percy, concluded: “We have been amazed by the dedication and efforts of the community and volunteers. Seeing all of the recent activity has confirmed our view that The Butchers will once again be a successful pub and, to have 300 shareholders with an interest in the success of the enterprise is an excellent position to start from.”
For more information about The Butchers Arms visit www.lyvennetcommunitypub.com or, call David Graham on 01931 715348 or Kitty Smith on 01931 715375.
Community groups wanting further information about member-owned enterprise, and the advice, support and finance available to set-up, run and grow sustainable co-operative enterprises – including up to four days free tailored business consultancy - should contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub at www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub or email email@example.com
The pub is open for business (11:00hrs to 11:00hrs Wednesday to Sunday and, Tuesday’s from 5pm.
It sells selling a wide range of beers, lagers and cider including three real ales and an extensive selection of wines
The share offer is now fully subscribed but the prospectus can still be viewed online and the Directors of the newly formed co-operative will add names of interested individuals to a waiting list for future share allocations.
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by almost six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas. The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000 people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop
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