When the pub first came on the market in May 2016 we undertook an initial consultation within the community to establish the level of interest in saving the Abingdon Arms for the community. This resulted in an excellent body of support.
- 113 people responded to an on-line and paper questionnaire
- 108 (96%) indicated support for a community purchase
- 92 (82%) that they would consider investing in the pub.
PLEDGES TO INVEST
We then held an open public meeting in June to consult on buying the pub for the community and to see how many people would really invest. Subsequently we have circulated by email and door-to-door deliveries in Beckley and five adjacent villages a further newsletter and project proposal linked to an on-line investment pledge.
A total of 81 individuals and couples have pledged to invest in the pub. Pledges ranged up to £25,000 and totalled an impressive £333,550, which amounts to over 75% of the asking price of £440,000 for the Abingdon Arms. This outstanding response has given us the confidence and belief that the community stands solidly behind the proposal.
Who else have we consulted?
We have visited and consulted with a number of established community pubs (four in Oxfordshire and one in Dorset) and with two successful local commercial pub businesses. In line with our wider community 'More than a Pub' model (see our business plan), we have consulted also with a nearby village shop, three local microbreweries, an accommodation provider, architects, builders, developers, solicitors, craftsmen and other professionals in our community.
Last, but by no means least, we have drawn on local interest and offers of help to recruit a willing force of volunteers who have delivered newsletters, canvassed opinion and encouraged pledges of investment, and who we hope will assist practically with the numerous tasks (e.g. painting and decorating, gardening) which will be required following community purchase of the Abingdon Arms. An impressive and extremely encouraging level of community engagement!
community survey: what do you want from your pub?
We ran a community survey on what the community wants from the pub in December 2016 to look at people's preferences for food, drink and "More than a pub" options. Despite the busy Christmas period, we had 102 responses to the survey. If you're interested, you can download a pdf with an overview of the results here.