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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian villagers raise £100,000 in bid to buy pub

Plans for a community to buy, refurbish and reopen a traditional Cumbrian pub took another step towards reality when it announced that it has passed the £100,000 milestone.

Butcher
Campaign organisers Doug Henderson, left, and David Graham

Determined villagers set up a co-operative, The Lyvenet Community Pub Ltd, to save their ‘local’ – The Butchers Arms, Crosby Ravensworth – after almost 90 per cent of local residents endorsed plans to reopen the local pub.

An offer to buy the pub was accepted in March and, with help and advice from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, a community share issue was launched inviting people to become members of this community co-operative and co-own a traditional village pub which has been closed since September 2010.

With more than a third of the money needed now raised – and with investors from as far afield as Australia and Singapore – David Graham, one of six directors of this new co-operative, said: “Reopening the pub will put the heart back into our village. We have been delighted with the support that we have received so far however, we still have a lot of work to do.

“Our plan is quite simple really, to buy and reopen a traditional Cumbrian pub selling local ales, good quality local food and offering a warm welcome to all for traditional pub sports and pastimes, local events, celebrations, music and culture.”

Michael Fairclough, head of community and campaigns at The Co-operative Group – which invested £7.5m in The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to support the creation and growth of member-owned enterprises, said: “The co-operative model offers an alternative way to do business, providing a robust approach to enterprise that can restore a lost sense of community cohesion, keep communities thriving and contribute to the rebuilding of a more balanced and sustainable economy.

“The closure of a pub can represent more than just another business closing, a well run ‘local’ is an important part of the social life of a community – this is another great example of people taking ownership into their own hands and having a say in the running of businesses and services important to the demands of local communities.”

Rory Stewart MP for Penrith and the Border visited the pub on Saturday to hand over his cheque to buy shares in the pub.

Lyvenet Community Pub Ltd aims to attract more than 150 members, each investing between £250 and £20,000 to become co-owners of this traditional Cumbrian pub.

The community share issue runs until May 20.

For more information about taking a ‘stake’ in The Butchers Arms, visit www.lyvennetcommunitypub.com or call David Graham on 01931 715348 or Kitty Smith on 01931 715375.

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