Community Cooperative Update

What’s the idea?

To preserve the pub as it is, for the benefit of the community by creating a cooperative who would collectively and jointly own the pub. There are currently 51 community-owned pubs in the UK, with many different ways of operating. We are looking at other cooperatives to see how they are structured and how they function. The Prince of Wales community is not just those living in Foxfield, as there are many regular visitors from all around the country, who are fans of the pub and would like to preserve the character of the pub for the future.

What would my involvement be?

Members of the community can buy into the cooperative by buying a share in the pub – currently the plan is to sell shares of between £50 and £2500 to any one person, with a family ownership of a maximum of £5000. The shareholders will not make money out of this initiative, but should they choose to, they will be able to cash in their share and get their original investment back. Each shareholder will have one vote on organisational matters important enough to require a vote (no matter how many ‘lots’ of £50 shares they hold) and there will be AGM’s for shareholders.

What has been going on so far?

There is a small steering group that has been set up to look into the creation of a cooperative. A questionnaire has been put on the POW website asking what people’s involvement might be. Various specialists have been asked to be involved – a valuer is currently working on giving us some figures so we know the market value. Also we have taken advice from the Plunkett Foundation who are a charity specialising in community initiatives. Their advisor to us has also had his own experience of setting up a community owned pub in Heskett Newmarket. We will also need lots of further financial and legal advice, which we will look into in the near future.

So, would the community run the pub?

No, this is not the intention. The idea is that the community owns the pub, but then an individual or couple is put in place to run the pub on a day to day basis. This person or couple would have to spend some time working alongside Stuart and Lynda in the pub to acquire the necessary knowledge of how the pub is run. The steering group will advise and guide the manager(s) on any issues as needed.

What would happen to the brewery?

The brewery would remain as part of the establishment

Lynda & Stuart